October 31, 2017
Feeling Stuck and the Transition
"It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts." Ella Fitzgerald
It was 2014 I was longing for a change in my career. I was an Engineer. My Company was a great company to work. But my work life balance was completely missing. Sooner or later we had plans for our second one. I could not imagine myself living the same lifestyle and having to take care of two kids. I wanted a lifestyle which would create some balance, autonomy, and creativity.
I started looking for jobs, and nothing worked.I did not understand why I was not breaking through the interviews. Internal transfers within the company had become a huge mountain to climb. My friends could easily see that I was not happy with the work I was doing. I needed a change. So a friend of mine offered to help with my resume. He motivated me by saying if you badly want a job you would get one. He drew some analogies which fueled me enough to start my job hunt seriously.
We sat down, opened my laptop to start and then came the question. Is this what you wanted to do for next few years? I lamented that I cannot change I am stuck yada yada yada. I went round and round and round like a mad chicken.Then I heard my friend say you know what we don't need this and quickly closed the laptop. I was sitting across and trying to process what just happened. Then it occurred to me that the answer to his question was a big "No".
How can this be possible? Well, people change. There comes the point in our lives where we find ourselves stuck. No matter how hard you try, you cannot find a way to lift your spirits up. The very job which was exciting in the beginning might make you slog. Why? Well, many factors play a role to bring us to this moment. We are humans we change every day. Our emotions change on a daily basis, changes in our relationships good or bad happen, changes at work and many more factors fuel our feeling stuck moment.
Who moved my cheese? By author Spencer Johnson puts these changes into perspective. A story about four characters two mice "Scurry" and Sniff" and two little people "Hem" and "Haw." I am like the character "Haw." Story of the character Haw goes like this
"One day, having discovered his debilitating fears, Haw begins to chuckle at the situation and stops taking himself so seriously. Realizing he should simply move on, Haw enters the maze, but not before chiseling "If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct" on the wall of Cheese Station C for his friend to ponder.
Still fearful of his trek, Haw jots "What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?" on the wall and, after thinking about that, he begins his venture. Still plagued with worry (perhaps he has waited too long to begin his search...), Haw finds some bits of cheese that nourish him and he is able to continue his search. Haw realizes that the cheese has not suddenly vanished, but has dwindled from continual eating. After a stop at an empty cheese station, Haw begins worrying about the unknown again. Brushing aside his fears, Haw's new mindset allows him to enjoy life again. He has even begun to smile again! He is realizing that "When you move beyond your fear, you feel free."
I would highly recommend this motivational short read.
The very day, I went back home out of all the different options and ideas I was thinking, diaper bag design popped up. I sat down and put my diaper bag design on the paper. My idea was to help moms. Instead, I was trying to help myself.I am thankful for such friends and for such amazing conversations.
Meanwhile, I was done with my bag design(I laugh at myself when I call it a design :)), and then I started looking to see how I can get the Prototype done. Then came the news "I am Pregnant." I was more than determined to make my diaper bag idea a reality.
I saved all my leave. Sabbatical, bonding, maternity leave before and after the baby. It was a solid 5-6 month off. I was preparing myself to quit the job. It was late 2014. I was about to start a conversation with my husband, and instead, I heard that he was laid off.
With the baby due in one month I could not afford to think anything further related to my career. I gathered myself and began my maternity leave. I told myself "Maybe you would love to return to your job after the much-required leave."
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” – Arnold Bennett
While there was a bit worried about when my husband would find a job. I must say those were the happiest days!.We would drop our son and go for a coffee. Then we would go for shopping for the little one or go for a stroll in the park. It was an amazing time.
The day has come and my daughter said "Hello World" and brought along a news that my husband had got a job!. I went back to work after my leave and could not stop feeling stuck again. The passion for work at that point completely died. It was not a good either for the company or me to be in such a state. It was time for a conversation. My husband and I spoke and I finally decided to become a stay at home mom(Did you assume life was all rainbows and glitters? Keep guessing...this is life people! More on this later).
I spoke with my manager and told him that I have decided quit. It was late December 2015. My manager was amazing enough to understand and let me do what is right for me and my family. There is one thing he mentioned.
"Madhu! Wherever you go, you brighten up the environment.Please stay the same always. Keep that inner spirit of yours alive."
A part of me which I long forgot and it was time to take it back.
“Do not dwell on the past. Your history cannot be erased, but your future has yet to be written, so make the most of what is going to happen instead of worrying about what you cannot change.”
Well, that's it for today more in my next post! If you want to follow and see how my story unfolded and would be unfolding, sign up!