There’s a theory that change actually starts with an ending rather than a beginning. You cast off your old patterns, enter a transitional stage where you figure things out, and your new beginning only starts when you’ve completed the first two stages.
That’s where I am right now, my life as an accountant has ended, and I’m currently in (actually towards the end of) a holding pattern waiting for my new life to begin. This is neither as negative, nor as terrifying as that looks on first reading, as I’ve actually deliberately planned for the year to be this way. It has been terrifying at times, exhilarating at others, and now I’m kind of itching to get to the final stage.
Giving up accountancy was a wrench, but it was no longer giving me the satisfaction it used to. I love puzzles, and solving puzzles was, in the past, the best part for me about working with numbers. Not being a natural maths whizz, I loved accountancy because it was a daily challenge but I’ve always been aware that I was working against my innate skillset rather than with it. When my work was making me depressed, I knew the time to get out had arrived.
What do you do when you’ve spent your working life doing one thing, your spare time doing another, then your life circumstances send another opportunity your way, but all three appear in diametric opposition to each other, so you can’t see the wood for the trees?
You look for help. Me, I found a career coach to help me find my path. It’s probably the most middle class thing I’ve ever done (if you ignore the fact that I live in north London, and have a tiny addiction to both hummus and avocados), but it has proven invaluable in my case.
Drawing up a list of “dream jobs”, I realised a few things; all my dream jobs were people-facing (a proper shock for a lifetime misanthrope, I can tell you!), and involved an element of storytelling. There was also an undercurrent of change to all of them. For some reason, I’m drawn to bringing order to chaos. Or explaining complex things in a simple way. I usually justify this as part of “being a control freak”, but actually, I’m not a control freak at all, it turns out that I just really like explaining stuff. And talking to people. Oh, and figuring things out. Especially when it comes to figuring things out about people. Turns out, I’m pretty good at it, too.
Weird, huh? Who knew? Well, as I’ve been drawing up training programmes, holding finance workshops, writing process notes, designing reporting systems and sitting in various “system improvement” groups for literally years now, it should have been somewhat obvious, really, I guess.
Well, anyway, once I’d realised this, my new pathway seemed obvious: Change Management. So I’ve spent some of my “free” time this year retraining. I’ve just passed two qualifications in CM, and I’m about to undertake Prince2 certification too. Turns out my favourite subject at college; “Organisation Development” is actually change management, and my both my A level in and slight obsession with psychology has been incredibly helpful. And, from my reading around, I’ve been using a lot of change management techniques naturally in how I work. Hoorah! It fits, and I’ll finally be working to my strengths. How cool is that?
My coach calls my technical ability coupled with my advanced social skills is a “delightful contradiction”, and points out that the time has come for me to finally fully embrace it. So now, basically, I’m ready for my new beginning.
Normal, sarcastic blogging to be resumed soon, just thought my absence needed a bit of explaining – and I needed a bit of headspace before I start filling it with trivia again. Just need to find a job now …
Oh, and yes, I do know there will still be spreadsheets. As long as I can fit a beloved pivot table into things every now and again, all will be well!