It’s not about me, but it needs to start with me.

Before I started work in my not-so-new job, I wrote down a list of reasons to remind myself of why I accepted the job, and also made a checklist to help me make a decision at the end of one year if I should stay or go. Here I am appraising my employer shortly after 7 months (or technically 6 months because the one month of no-pay leave which I had requested for prior to accepting the offer did not count to my probation period of 6 months), as they are also appraising me. I knew this probation extension was a possibility before I signed the contract, but I did not realise the impact it would have on me until it did. It was frustrating not being entitled to any sick leave during the first three months of work or a single day of annual leave during my probation period. Even accompanying my mother for her medical appointments required a request for further no-pay leave, and that was subjected to approval and would have implication on the management’s consideration for my confirmation as well as end-year bonus.

For the past few months, I have been trying to convince myself that “it is not about me, it’s about the clients” (as repeatedly told by the boss) and that only by staying in a place of discomfort until i have overcome my deepest and darkest fears will I be able to learn and grow. It was getting to a point of incongruence because I felt increasingly uncomfortable, unsafe and disempowered. Yet I felt upset with myself for toying with the idea of quitting in less than a year of working here. I was worried about how I would disappoint and have to explain myself to people around me all over again. I was also confused – was this an issue with the workplace, the job itself, or just me and my idealistic expectations of what work should feel like? To think I once thought this job was a life buoy for me, and now it feels like I had bitten the wrong bait. To cope with the growing dis-ease in me, I turned to anything that would help me feel better such as yoga, meditation, counselling and most recently reiki (energy healing). If there was one thing I was most grateful for with this job, it was the ability to afford all of the above activities and the time I had to pursue them on the side. And perhaps, this was what I needed to help me during this period of transition. It has been too difficult to process and pen down what I was going through in words. Even this post feels very raw.

Lately, I have had some liberating reflections that might end up influencing some bold decisions. What if I was starting to get better at recognising the signs of a job and people that did not match with my current energies? What if this was not a place that was adding to my emotional well-being? What if there was nothing wrong with wanting something better and trying at someplace else to find emotional fulfilment? Part of my self-love journey has taught me that I would know myself way better than anyone else would. Now I just need to trust my instincts on what’s good and what’s not-so-good for me. This might be one of those defining moments where I finally learnt to put my foot down and speak up for myself even if it risks being the worst break up in my career life. We both deserve to cut our losses, so even if it does not make sense to you, I need to start with me before I can do any real, meaningful work with others.

“we are diamonds taking shape.”

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