Every day I receive updates from LinkedIn – often they invite me to congratulate friends and colleagues on their Work Anniversary. I find it a strange concept as I don’t know anyone who actually celebrates their own Work Anniversary. I can’t remember balloons and flowers appearing in the office to mark another year’s service for anyone, but judging by the ‘Congrats’ messages that now appear on LinkedIn this has become an acceptable date to have in your calendar. LinkedIn also seems to have created a new word as the majority of LinkedIn users seem happy to click the ‘Congrats’ button — the word irks me, ‘Congratulations’ sounds more fitting, more celebratory.
One year ago today, after months of feeling miserable, I woke up feeling brave enough to ask to leave my job. Of course if you have read my previous blog posts you will know that I didn’t actually escape in June, but nonetheless I started the process. Even saying it out loud was enough to make me feel a fire inside that had been missing for so long.
So, Happy ‘Leave Work’ Anniversary to me, and say Congratulations to me for stepping off the wheel and to trying to make it on my own.
The biggest impact of this change has been on all the relationships in my life…
Work Colleague or Friend?
I have left companies before of course, so I know that when you do leave you find out pretty quickly who was just a work colleague and who was a friend, but that is brought into even sharper focus when you leave an industry. I am no longer useful to other people’s careers and time is better spent elsewhere. A couple of ‘treasures’ have emerged, but the number is small. A few I miss and I wish we were still in touch, but I have to remember that those left behind are still running around the wheel 60 hours a week and sadly for them their ‘free time’ is small.
Over the last year I have been able to see who really cares about me and values my friendship. So here is a big thank you to those who know who Clara Lawrence is, who read my blog even when it’s not interesting and who still enjoy a bottle of wine in my company through the highs and the lows. Life would be poorer without you.
Having more time to meet new people has given me a whole new set of relationships that I didn’t know I was missing. Some have become friends already and others I hope will develop into friends. A huge thank you to those who have accepted me popping up in their lives, have encouraged me in my career change project, inspired me with their own creativity.
And thank you to my family who I now spend more time with than ever before. You have all been forced to adapt to my new life, my upbeat days and my ‘God….What have I done?’ days. I think I promised lots of beautiful home-cooked meals as part of the deal and on the days when I am buzzing around enjoying my new life I know I have failed to meet that part of the deal, but pizza is nice too so I hope you forgive me. I am so glad that you all still seem to need me though — really, how did you manage without me? In fact, come to think of it, how did I manage without me too!
To all those celebrating a LinkedIn Work Anniversary today, I hope it is something you are celebrating, that you enjoy your work and that your company find a way to show their appreciation. If not then I can highly recommend the alternative!