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The difference a year makes

The difference a year makes

The difference a year makes.

This time last year, I was saying goodbye to friends and colleagues in a newsroom I’d called home for nine years. It was bitter sweet and truly, I had no idea what was next in terms of my career.

My last day of work was also the day before my birthday so I was more focused on partying than planning my future. All I knew then was that I would have a December free of having to create gift guides, work night shifts or write ‘viral’ content – I would enjoy December and all the celebrations that came with it.

I then spent the next seven months – a good chunk of 2017 trying to find a new path – and work. Freelance writing took some time to get off the ground and in all honesty, I missed the buzz of going into an office and working with a team every day. I went through half a dozen interviews, several phone interviews and countless iterations of my resume and portfolio. I got sick of myself!

There were days that I reveled in working/writing as much as I want, sleeping in til 10/11 going to the gym in off-peak hours to hog the squat machine for as long as I wanted. I had coffee dates with people I never used to have time to see. I went exploring in the city, ran all over my neighbourhood and even went to church in the afternoons. My home was clean, laundry was always done and fresh meals were made almost daily. 

A good bye card from one of my amazing co-workers (and friend).

A good bye card from one of my amazing co-workers (and friend).

But, there were some days (ok, a lot of days) where I simply felt lost. I had no idea what I wanted to do next or how I was going to get there. I was embarrassed that I wasn’t working full-time, that I had gone past the 6 months of my severance package within which time I thought I would be fully and happily employed already. 

My husband, my friends continued in their work and their careers and I was at home reading fiction and eating cookies because I still wanted to be a journalist, but didn’t want to start from the bottom again. I wanted to work in digital, but didn’t want obscure shifts. I wanted to be seen as a creative and a low-key influencer, but didn’t want to take on projects that had me selling my social feeds. I had way too many but’s. The biggest of all being, I want to take on something new, BUT I’m not sure I’m good enough.

It really wasn’t until August that I decided to stop putting pressure on myself. Not sure if it’s that feeling of a refresh at the end of the summer, when you know back to school is on its way and that anticipation of something new is heavy in the air, but I had come to terms with my skills, abilities, strong suits and weak, I felt comfortable with what I could offer employers and confident that my experience would take me there.

I flipped my mindset to “I have to find a job that’s like this, this and this” to “I have the skills and abilities to be successful in many types of jobs and will apply with no reservations.” And so I did, I opened my eyes – so to speak – to other opportunities which a few months prior I would’ve felt like I couldn’t do. I decided no more BUTs – I had to give myself a chance so somebody else would.

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The thing I felt the worse about when I wasn’t working was something that doesn’t really make me unique here in Toronto. Being the daughter of two amazing, hard-working parents who came to Canada with just their work-ethic, skills and knowledge – I felt guilty that my parents had done so much to build a life for our family, even putting my sister and I through school and here I was, university-educated, 10+ years of professional work experience and I couldn’t land a job. But my parents never judged me, they saw what my old job was doing to my health and my relationships – it wasn’t good. They were the ones who always knew I’d land on my feet, even on the days I couldn’t even get out of bed because I felt so worthless.

It was difficult to come to terms with work is not my life’s purpose, and rather that I should find passion and purpose in my work even if it means trying something new.

So, one full calendar year after doing one of the scariest things I’ve ever done walking away from a career I’d worked so hard to build and I am almost three months in to a new journey I couldn’t have imagined back in January.

When I decided to give myself a chance – someone else did too.

My new path is fresh and it is young, and yes, there have been some growing pains, BUT I am happy and more than happy, I am grateful.

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