I’d like to take this opportunity to apologise. Since I moved to Manchester in June, I’ve fallen off the radar, depriving you of my exuberant energy and witty commentary. But what a whirlwind the last three months have been, a time of tumultuous change and enlightening personal growth. I may have gone away but now I’m back, ready to share all the gory details about those missing three months…
Change of pace
Have you ever gotten just a little too comfortable? I lived in Leeds for over three years, and although it was challenging and engaging at first, by the end, I’d stopped growing professionally and personally, even if I was still having a whale of a time. So, when the bottom fell out of my world, and I got made redundant, yes it was hard, but it was also just a little bit exciting. I was ready for a change of pace, to be challenged again, and now I had no choice but to go looking for that next hurdle.
So when I secured a job in Manchester, and somehow found somewhere to live in a mere two weeks, I was ready to take on the world again. Don’t get me wrong, I felt sad when the time came to leave my life in Leeds behind – I changed so much during that time, I became an entirely different man to the one who rocked up in Burley Park three years prior. But I felt ready to become an entirely different man once again. I had no idea that even three months later, I’d be barely recognisable.
Fish out of water
Do you know that old saying, “it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond, than a little fish in a big pond?” Since I graduated I’ve been that big fish, working my way up in small companies, the types of places where everyone knows your name, and expectations are clearly defined. I moved to Manchester to take up a position as a content writer, with a firm called Travel Counsellors. They may be the travel industry’s best kept secret, but after starting there trust me, I was no longer a big fish.
Starting at a place like Travel Counsellors, where they’re big on innovation, can be disorientating. I suddenly had to get to grips with concepts such as ‘hot desking’ (where you don’t have a desk, but work at any desk available). These were the kinds of concepts I’ve only ever read about before. Getting to grips with a new way of working, one that was so completely unfamiliar to me, was harder than I could have imagined. Not because it isn’t effective – it is, but because dealing with change is tough for anyone, even the most restless of people, and I admit that at first, I struggled.
The funny thing about human beings, though, is that no matter how disorientating change can be, it eventually becomes the norm, and when it does, we acclimatise to this new normal. As the days passed, I found myself adapting to the Travel Counsellors’ way of doing things, fitting slowly into their company culture, making friends, and even putting my stamp on the job I’d been hired to do. Three months later, I can categorically say that I’m now a better professional than I was before.
Back on the market
I may have been slowly making progress at work, but my home life was another matter. If you remember, when I found a house in Manchester, I decided to live with a live-in landlady; something I’d never done before. Everything was calm at first; my housemates were pleasant enough, and I just went about living my life. But slowly, ever so slowly, small issues, the kind that seem innocuous at first, but when added together begin to prove problematic, crept up. I couldn’t, for example, get the internet on my laptop in that house, hence why I’ve been absent from your Facebook feeds. Things like that start to get on your nerves after a while and eventually, it all came to a head.
To be absolutely fair, I don’t think I was prepared enough to live with a live-in landlady. I’d been independent for so long, living by my own rules, that it proved tough to follow someone else’s. I will openly admit that I played my part; I could have been more considerate, and at the end of the day, blame games get you nowhere. However, one day I found that my favourite pizza – the one I look forward to all week, had been eaten by someone else. That night I decided to speak to my landlady; we both decided that enough was enough, there was no hard feelings, but it was time I gave notice.
And so, I found myself back on the market – the housing market. I had six weeks to find a place, sign the lease and move in. This was all, by the way, happening whilst I went a fabulous Western Mediterranean cruise with my family, visiting charming European destinations such as Florence. Yeah… it was a stressful time alright. Somehow, I managed to find a place mere days after giving notice, initiate the vetting process while I was disconnected from the internet on international waters, and move in the weekend after I returned to the UK. Admittedly I had to pay six months rent in advance because I didn’t have a guarantor and for a penny-pincher like me, that stung. But I proved that I can do anything I can set my mind to, and that’s something I’m immensely proud of.
Wait for the best
The last three months have definitely been a whirlwind, one where the tumultuous winds of change whipped through my carefully constructed life. But they’ve also been absolutely incredible. I’ve grown so much, personally and professionally, as while facing adversity I gradually came to realise that I’m a fully grown, capable man, and I can handle all that life decides to throw at me. I apologise for neglecting you these past three months, but now I’m back and trust me, the best is yet to come.