I am a big fan of listening to your gut, or your heart, or contemplating your navel. I'm big on working out what your values are and ensuring you work with those. I believe in working out your purpose and aligning your work and life with that.
But then you should take chances and chase the adventure and say yes and all of that. Believe all the memes and you know....be inspired and motivated?
But sometimes you should just stop that shit because motivational memes aren't real life are they? If you are dreaming of lying by the pool for eternity and/or living by the sea in a shack and growing your own vegetables (when you have a very brown thumb) and making pickles and dehydrating your own food and dreaming about a different job (but you can't define that job), like I have been for quite a while, maybe you should listen to that. Don't you think?
You see in late 2015 this was this restructure at work and I chased a role (because I didn't like the alternative) and got offered said role and you know, I wasn't really sure I wanted the role even though it was more senior and has some fantastic career development. I think the kicker was that to accept the role I needed to move from Singapore to the UK or Norway. Apart from not really wanting to move from Singapore, I wasn't sure I wanted to convince a whole new set of leaders that what I do and what I believe in, is important. Because in my head you shouldn't have to. Shouldn't have to prove that people are important to business and looking after them and challenging them and developing them, is the right thing to do. It's not that I don't know how to convert the doubters, I do. I know I can do this and I'm good at doing this, and I have done it before.
I had spent the previous 18+ months doing this with a number of leaders across Asia Pacific, and while they now get what I do, and know that I'm on their side and will help them be better, it's an uphill battle. And I know that a couple of these leaders think the world of me and loved what I brought to the business. Apart from that I was exhausted. Hence the fantasising about doing something simpler like growing vegetables. One leader I spoke with, who was having similar struggles, wanted to give it all up and run a Jim's Mowing business. At least he knew how he was going to make money!
So we proceeded along the path that I would accept the role and move to Europe somewhere (we being Arran and I and the small boys Aiden and Charlie). I didn't listen to the anxious voices in my head or pay attention to the heaving crying in the middle of the night. Nor the nagging feeling in my gut, or the complete difficulties in every part of the move. And we moved to the UK.
Unlike our move to Singapore everything was hard. Not that moving countries should be easy. It's not. Even if you moved house within the same suburb or area you know it's hard. All your possessions in different boxes and all over the place. Complete disruption. Moving country is a whole other ball game. Most of your assumptions don't hold in the new place and you don't realise until you start trying to do things. Opening a bank account is all kinds of hell, there is a different driving culture in each county, renting somewhere to live has different rules, and most days you feel violent towards other people, particularly in the supermarket. And don't get me started on the UK health care system which is in all kinds of strife (like many health care systems in the developed world), and I can now see why. Of course there are lots of amazing and great reasons to live and work in a new country but it's definitely not for the faint hearted.
So do you think I headed all these warning signs? Do you think I listened? That would be a big fat NO. And so two months after moving to the UK, when we where still getting settled, I was informed that my role would no longer be required. I mean really?
So what did we do? My UK work visa meant I couldn't work for another employer in the UK in the near future and the complications around trying to stay on a different visa were a long shot considering the state of the UK economy post Brexit. And we were done.
We made the decision to move back to Singapore.
So far, so good, and I now have some good job opportunities which I'm hoping, one at least will come off in the next few weeks.