I recently wrote a Facebook post about the situation I was in last year and wanted to share it again with you here in more detail.
I want to show you all how different things can look for you within 12 months’ time IF you start to take control of your own life.
This time last year (January 2015) I was in a well-paid corporate job that I hated. I was dreading going back to work after the Christmas break. Within a few days of returning back to work I got gastro. I was really sick for several weeks and I was concerned because I had my first ultra-marathon coming up at the end of January. I needed to be eating properly and keeping the weight on! I eventually went to the doctor who examined me and conducted tests that showed nothing was wrong. I felt at the time that it was brought on by the stress and anxiety of going back to work. It was just too co-incidental.
I asked my manager if I could work 4 days per week to ease some of the pressure but I was told no. What the company did say was that they would reduce my interstate travel from Perth. In reality, what happened over the next few months was that my travel dramatically increased to the point that I was on a plane, away from home for a night or two nearly every other week. Travelling from Perth is always tiring. Nothing is a quick flight, and you have the time difference to consider, which is worse in the summer when most of the rest of Australia goes onto daylight saving. A trip to Sydney or Melbourne would wipe out a whole day.
Every weekend after travelling I would be exhausted. I would manage to make it through the week and just collapse in a heap at the weekend.
I kept asking my husband why I was so tired as I wasn’t making the connection! I asked my company again to reduce my travel and was told that it was part of my job and that I was to get on with things. I explained how exhausted I was but they weren’t interested. In March I went to my doctor for my routine annual blood tests. During the consult my doctor said I was exhausted and she wanted to sign me off for a week. She wanted me to go home and do nothing. I asked her if we could please start the sick note in a few days as I had so much to do!! I still did not make the connection as I spent the next few days working like crazy so I could take sick leave the following week. How I look back on that now and shake my head.
Within 2 months, after an ever increasing workload I got the flu. BAM. It hit me from nowhere. My husband wasn’t sick and none of my friends were sick. It wasn’t even flu season for goodness sake. It knocked me for over a week and I’m not a good patient. All I kept thinking was that I had to get better as I had flights booked for a business trip to Adelaide the following week. My husband says that he does not recall me ever being that sick. I was even having problems sleeping and I never have problems sleeping!
When I went back to work my manager asked if I was ok due to the amount of sick leave I’d been having. I responded that it didn’t really matter what I said because she wasn’t going to do anything about my workload or travel, to which she basically admitted that no she wasn’t. Great! So my manager has done her ‘duty’ of asking me if I am ok. She can tick that box when her manager or HR ask her but in reality that was just a useless paper exercise. During that call she also told me that the work I had been pushing back on (because of my workload) before I was sick needed to be done otherwise the client company would start complaining. I remember just crying even on the phone to her, but she wasn’t interested. I cried for days after that phone call, feeling sick, exhausted and knowing that I could not carry on and sustain this.
It wasn’t just my health that was suffering. I lost friends during this period too. I stopped socialising as much, didn’t attend the classes that I went to and didn’t go the gym as much. The half marathon I had planned to run at the start of June had to be changed to a 10km as I wasn’t up to it, mentally or physically.
Finally after months of this situation my husband said, ‘Melanie, this is not sustainable. The job has to go’. It was me that said I had to keep doing it and that financially we needed the job. I also want to add here that I was the main income earner. My husband does not earn a 6 figure salary on the mines, or anywhere else.
2014 was the year where I had studied and put plans in place to make ‘Eager for Life’ happen but my plan was always to set it up alongside my corporate job until I could do it full time. What on earth made me think I could hold down two jobs when I wasn’t even coping with one? And how did I believe I could help people achieve optimal health and wellness when I wasn’t achieving it myself. That was a big wakeup call when I realised that.
My husband and I are never ones to do things by half. We had been toying with the idea of moving interstate for a while. We wanted fresh challenges for us and my business and to be closer to things on the East Coast. Within a week of the conversation where my husband told me I needed my health more than my salary, we had both resigned from our jobs! We didn’t have a firm plan and that scared people. Friends would ask if we had found a new place to live and if we had jobs and when we said no, they were freaking out more than us!!
Within a few weeks we packed up the house, left Western Australia and hit the road to see where life could take us. I had lots of comments from people such as ‘It was ok for us because we didn’t have children, didn’t have family nearby, didn’t have x, y or z and that they couldn’t afford to do that (with their new cars, house holidays overseas and everything else to go with that kind of lifestyle that you NEED the top $$’s for). The list and the excuses went on and on…..
But do you know what? There were a million and one reasons we could have stayed in that same situation, in a beautiful house with great money coming in which allowed us to more or less go and do what we wanted, when we wanted. But we chose not to. We chose to step out of our comfort zone. We chose to step into the unknown and trust the process. We knew we wanted to move to the Sunshine Coast but things weren’t working out for this to happen. So we decided to move to Melbourne for a while until we could make the move further North. But as soon as we hit the East Coast, things did happen. Circumstances unfolded which we could never have planned sitting in the comfort of our house in Western Australia. We took a huge leap of faith and trusted that things would unfold. We never made it to Melbourne, and that’s ok because that’s not where we really wanted to go. Both of our vision boards (done in January 2015) had pictures of the Sunshine Coast on them.
I look back at last year and now I feel that I can thank my manager. I am not angry at how her or the company treated me although I was initially. It is thanks to her that I am now living in another beautiful part of Australia running a business that I love.