10 Lessons You’ll Learn At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
A few years ago, I was retrenched from a workplace for the second time in my life. The rug had been pulled out from under me, not once but twice in my life. If I was ever at the end of my comfort zone, then this was it.
If this has never happened to you before, allow me to explain how it feels.
The first time around I felt deflated. Like a washed out rag that simply wasn’t needed anymore. I felt stripped of my confidence and questioned my own worth. My purpose in life seemed to have come to an abrupt halt. The position I filled was made redundant and a little snag called my job title made any chance of a fight near to impossible. It was an unfair situation but one I could fight if I had wanted to. At least that’s what the CCMA said. That was if I had the energy and time to waste. Instead I left it and went about my way finding employment elsewhere.
In all honesty, both those positions were ones I hated. Not the work so much because I love numbers. They don’t talk back and give you attitude. They may hide sometimes and cause you a sleepless night or two. Anyone who’s ever had to search for a 2 or 5cents can vouch for this. My becoming miserable had more to do with me being in the wrong place and dealing with difficult people. More commonly known as superiors in the workplace. I wanted an out but my sane rational self wouldn’t allow me to leave a stable job (how wrong I was) and make the change I needed. Coward much? I chose to be angry and resentful. How lucky I was to be handed an out. Go universe!
A recent Facebook memory reminded me of my first successful interview I went to after that. I got a position at a Pharmaceutical company that specialized in male enlargements. Yep you read it. I don’t remember laughing as much I did then during that period of my life. The husband was happy that I’d gotten some of my sparkle back for a brief moment until he wondered how I’d tell my parents and my gran. Just like that, my mind was filled with doubt. Obviously my husband and I thought it hilarious but an honest job but convincing my parents was still a dauntng task. Even worse was telling my kids. Kids always want to know the names of their parents place of employment. I was excited about it nonetheless. A new journey awaited me.
Right before I was due to start, I got a positive response from another company. A safer bet with more prospects. The company I would spend the next four years of my life learning more skills, plenty about myself and meet some of the people who’s had a lot of influence in my life. It was also the beginning of new hopes and dreams. The place where the idea of empowering others, especially women, was conceived. It was the company that would retrench me for the second time. You live, you learn.
The second time around the retrenchment didn’t come unexpectedly. I wasn’t left high and dry as the first time either. I got a great severance package and also learnt the part of the meaning to “Everything happens for a reason”. It was also the start of my zest for learning. This included the great lesson of “Patience”. Gosh, I still loathe that word. Anyway.
My mother heart decided to stay home for a while and be a mother to my kids. I’d been a good albeit absent parent during their tiny lives and this time I decided to be intentional about mothering. I spent time bonding with my kids. My son had just become a teenager and my daughter a tween. A trying time for all of us. My struggle was to adapt to my kids growing up and their struggle was transitioning to the next phases of their lives. And then there was the little one who craved my attention all the time. This time out was a blessing in disguise.
During my time at home I learnt plenty of new skills. After school I wanted to become a beauty therapist but my parents dissuaded me because that wasn’t a career for them at the time. My education was on their dime so who was I to argue. Little did my mom know that she’d be asking me to wax her eyebrows years later. The courses I took was to empower myself and be able to make a living without the security of a permanent job. I didn’t want to be dependant on a salary only because job security is not to be trusted. I say this not because I was retrenched twice, but because it’s a fact. You just have to look at the workforce out there.
These short course upskilled me and soon I was able to make some money on the side. Working with my hands and getting down and dirty sometimes is a humbling experience. Setting a monthly target and working towards it is an exciting feeling. I was totally responsible for what I brought home at the end of the day. I should probably tell you how tiring it is because there is no droping the ball. No slacking or calling in sick either. Not something for the faint hearted. I definitely will tell you how rewrding it is. So much so that in order for me to make my dreams and goals a reality, I needed much more money so I entered the corporate world once more.
Life has a funny way of handing you unwanted gifts…
Of all the positions I applied, the job I got was the one I reluctantly applied for. It was a position in a different department at my last company. I cried for a while and wondered why God wanted me to go back to that place. But I wanted money and they offered me plenty so off I went and spent the past year of my life getting up way too early, commuting for about four hours daily and missed out on some of my kids activities. That’s life for you. Nothing comes without sacrifices. After my initial reluctance, I loved every minute of my time there. Ok, maybe that’s pushing it just a bit. Fun was had, laughter shared but there was also some heated moments when I wanted to take my bag and walk out. That’s the problem with knowing your worth and what you want in life. I think my journey of self discovery made me a tad hot headed.
During those moments though, I chose to suck it up, wear my big girl panties and cry. I didn’t care who saw me crying the ugliest of cries. I cried and it made me feel better because once I dried those years I’d get up and slay dragons again. Or more aptly, I’d deal with the most demanding and unreasonable clients with a smile in my voice while swearing at them in my mind. Oh there were plenty of those but you don’t dare lose face. Ever. A client won’t care if you made them cry. You just better not make them cry.
Last week my contract ended and I’m back in the job market. Not wholeheartedly. I’ve got dreams of being a recluse one day. But to be a recluse I would have to have some money. Last week I also reached then end of my comfort zone. No salary waiting for me at the end of the month. Ouch!
Apart from entering the job market, I have my dreams, goals, plenty of skills and determination that will enable me to make some cash. Part of my dream is to empower other women to be the best they can be. To go out there and make things happen. Most of all I want to leave a legancy behind for my girls. No one should have to decide when your time is over. If you’re unhappy, change things or move on.
You see, if there are a few lessons I’ve learnt at the hands I’ve been dealt in life it would be the following:
10 Lessons You’ll Learn At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
1) You’ll fall sometimes, but when you rise again it’s that much better.
2) You may not see the reason all the time, but everything really does happen for a reason.
3) Never get too comfortable with what you have. It may be stripped away from you at any given time.
4) Learn a new skill as often as possible. It may end up being your plan and not your back up.
5) Grab every opportunity with both hands. It may not be the job you want but it is something.
6) Don’t sit around and wait for things to come your way. Go out there and DO. It doesn’t matter what you do but DO. An honest living is still a living. A minimal wage is surely better than no wage.
7) Learn to plan and save for the unexpected. Even if it's an insubstantial amount per month, save!
8) No one can ever take your education away from you. Albeit a formal education or a free online course. Learn. It does always come in handy. You can never unlearn anything.
9) Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone. It is at the end of your comfort zone that you learn more about yourself and your capabilities than ever before.
10) Being content is a great feeling. Don’t confuse that with being lazy though. Sometimes our contentment is a sign of fear and laziness.
You never know what tomorrow brings. I don’t know what tomorrow may bring for me either. What I do know is that should I not find formal employment in the near future, I will be out there doing because bills don't get paid by lying in bed reading or catching up on series. As tempting as it may be.