By: Meneesha Govender
After a rather bruising 2016, the time was right to take a step back, reassess and regroup. Many events propelled me out of my comfort zone and got me to make a few life-changing decisions. By December, I had quit my job of 16-and-a-half years, changed my hair colour and moved on to a new chapter in my life.
Three months into this year, and the jury is still out on whether my decisions were the right ones. But there is no turning back and right now I’m still enjoying writing my story on my blank, but crisp, canvas.
Starting out again at this stage of my life is daunting to say the least – I must earn an income, I have bills to pay and my kids depend on me for succour.
But as I look back on the past two years, I think that a seed of an idea was planted a while back. I was, unconsciously, preparing myself for a change that I knew I had to make.
I think the best thing I did was ensure that I was debt-free before I quit my job. There is nothing better than knowing I don’t have a car installment to meet or a store account to settle.
I also took the time to evaluate and reassess my insurance and medical aid costs, so that I wasn’t burdened with hefty monthly bills. Working out a financial plan is crucial to any new venture, I believe. Did I have enough in my bank account to meet monthly expenses? Did I need to consider a Personal Loan to start my new venture? I could only truly enjoy and embrace my new beginning if I felt minimal financial pressure.
It took me a good part of two years, to feel secure enough to turn to the page and begin this new chapter. But in December, the planning ended and I did it.
Now, I am studying. Again. The last time I wrote an assignment was almost 20 years ago!
Oh dear, the stress of completing assignments, the race to finish coursework… Add to that my bright spark idea to enroll for two courses at once… I often ask myself what possessed me.
But, every time I complete or receive feedback on an assignment, I know this new story is taking shape.
Marketing myself to prospective clients has proven my biggest challenge yet – I’ve never been a good salesperson. And there are so many things I had to start thinking about; – from learning it’s not cool to stay in my PJs all day to understanding new tax implications – there is a mountain of new issues to deal with.
My priority (after finishing my assignments on time) is to get my new career path up and running. The last time I thought about things like a CV, qualifications or work experience was well over a decade ago. So much has changed and I had to learn to embrace new ways of job hunting. There is an abundance of advice about How to Navigate the Job Hunt in 2017 out there, but the common thread is to prepare well and explore all avenues of “putting yourself out there”.
With a quarter of the year already gone by, I’ve been assessing how far I’ve come since making the rather frightening decision to leave behind a secure and comfortable existence and immerse myself in unknown waters. I reeled at first, I flailed and cried out for a life vest at times. But every day I learn a new truth that helps me plot my way.
And, of course, there is the support of my family. They’ve thrown me the life vest, they’ve even jumped into the murky waters with me. None of this would have been possible for me had I not had the unconditional support of my partner, kids and dad.
My advice to anyone who is contemplating a similar change is to remember the three Ps:
As I continue ploughing through new waters, I am determined not to sink.