I have been at the bank since 15 February 2015. So 2020 marks my 5years! The time flew and so many things have changed. I was a Project Co-ordinator for about two and a half years when I finally decided to apply for a Project Management (PM) role. It was always daunting and I fall into a comfort-zone every 2-3 years.
I had gone for a few interviews from November -December 2019 and heard the news that I got the job in December. The company were also in the process of moving buildings and I had officially started my new role on 15 January 2020. I only just realised that I started both times, on the 15th. I was also on the 15th floor of the new building and I overlooked the entire city from the window of my new corner desk.
I had so many hopes for my new role and the best part was that it was in a team I already worked with and somewhat knew that it was going to be a hectic run. The mantra I kept reminding myself, was that “If I can be a PM in this environment, I could be a PM anywhere! ” But nothing prepared me for the weeks that followed.
My direct manager had issued her letter, resigning from the company, after about a month into me starting. We hadn’t planned out the role I was to fulfil just yet but the other two ladies that had also started in the same team shortly after me had been with me in a little boat in the middle of nowhere, metaphorically speaking.
We had to choose teams within our portfolio and take it as it comes, one day at a time. The team I had been working closely with, was an obvious choice for me. Fast-forward about two weeks, my now, new manager, was due for maternity leave that would last for almost 8 months. but this… I hadn’t realised before. A couple people had made big moves across the portfolio and there were a host of changes that I cannot even begin to note without this post turning into a book!
Fast-forward again another 2-3 weeks… Covid hit SA! We declared a work from home order and a lock-down that none of us had emotionally planned for. I was forced to adapt. We all were. But if nothing else, I certainly had to adapt pretty quickly.
It was massively tolling. I felt lost, confused and entirely on autopilot for the first few weeks that followed. Was I adding enough value? Was I doing what I was employed to do? Questions that still linger in my mind.
There are so many uncertainties I face on a daily basis, but there was one thing I am certain of, and that is, that I am doing my best!
I need to constantly remind myself that my best is good enough, there is always room for improvement but the wallowing in self-pity that I should be doing better and performing quickly and know everything right off the bat, was certainly not an option for me right now.
I had gotten myself into a frenzy so many days, when I didn’t know certain things, to a point where I had a constant headache. I felt agitated and didn’t give myself the chance to adjust and learn. Don’t you just hate the first couple of months when you start something new? I know I do. But I forget to be kind to myself when I’m stuck in quarantine and things just need to be done.
Things are finally starting to feel a little more comfortable, I am allowing myself the inevitable learning experiences and becoming more focussed on the how, and less focussed on the insecurities of not being good enough or experienced enough.
There is a book I want to get, where they actually get you through those first few months. Surprisingly enough the manager that interviewed me for this role told me about the book.
I am so grateful for the opportunities that we are awarded everyday. For about a year and a half, or two years, I had been afraid to apply for roles because I was in a state of complacency, a comfortable place of knowing the role I was doing prior to this, because I could perform my duties on autopilot. I think about it now, knowing how much easier it is to stay in that place of comfort and ease, but getting through the times of difficulty, I’ve proven to myself that I can achieve so much more.
That if I have the courage to overcome some of these fears, I will never be stuck in a comfort zone, never get to a place where I question my worth or where I stop growing and learning. There is so much out there, and by waiting around and hanging on autopilot, we are wasting opportunities.
I’ve learnt that opportunities are all around us, and if we choose it, we will see just hot much more we can do. I wanted to share this story for two reasons; one, to remind me to never sink back into that comfort zone; and two, so that I will hopefully inspire other to have the courage to pursue their dreams. No matter how hard or impossible it seems at the beginning, it get’s easier every step you take.
Again I would like to say that I am grateful to be working during this time. As tough as some days seem, I would not want it any other way. I will post opportunities that I see on my social media for those who are not working, those that are looking and try my very best to remind you that there are opportunities out there, we just need to know where and how to seek them.
To end off, I would like to wish you all well. I pray that you are sheltered and safe, that you are warm and fed, that you feel loved and worthy, that you are healthy and feeling strong, that your family is safe and comfortable and that you are blessed in abundance with faith, love and happiness during the most uncertain times we have ever faced as a human race.