Transitioning

8 December 2021

It is Wednesday evening, 19 minutes after 19:00 hours and I feel inspired to start blogging. It has been eight months since I wrote anything on this platform, which is extremely unlike me. It is clear that I need to make more time to write, especially because this platform is my personal sanctuary, a safe haven where I get to express and pencil down my thoughts, ideas and deepest feelings.

Well, if you must know, I have been very busy writing weekly articles for my sponsored personal finance column, hosting a number of big events, leaving my corporate job, creating content (videos, photoshoots and podcast episodes) and writing a book; all while trying to hydrate and stay sane. Absolute madness!

I have decided to call this phase of my life, TRANSITIONING, because a lot has happened and changed in a short space of time. So a little kindness and self love is necessary, especially with all I have achieved, right?

Hosting the Standard Lesotho Mark of Excellence, 2021

Transitioning huh?

What am I transitioning from?

Well, I decided to share my experiences since leaving my corporate job in July 2021 and how I have managed to transition (if I have at all). Because the journey is long and somewhat complex, I will share it over a few blog posts, which will hopefully get me back to blogging more regularly.

#Resigning from my corporate job

Before I get carried, let me back track and start the story from the beginning. What lead me to resigning?

From May 2020 and the months that followed, I started having a love-hate relationship with my as a Sales Manager where feelings of resentment started surfacing. These were provoked by a number of things such as work requests that did not make any sense or being assigned responsibilities that were completely out of the scope of my work, worse without any engagement. The expectation was that I would just do it. I raised my concerns about this matter, hoping to they would be resolved. With time, I gradually disengaged, disliking my role and subsequently the working environment but I hoped it was just a phase that would clear out in a few days or weeks. As the months went by, I stopped growing professionally, stopped applying myself or making any meaningful contribution within the department. I checked out completely!

My work ethic deteriorated and so did my attitude. I somehow became passive aggressive, constantly on the edge or triggered by everythng. The things that used to excite me suddenly didn’t anymore and saying “no” to things that I was passionate about became a regular occurrence. I wallowed in self-pity for months, something very out of character for me. Noticing the change and dark hole I was sinking into, I fought hard to stay engaged and show up, but with each passing day, every e-mail and Teams meeting, I sunk deeper into the darkness.

Desperate to pull myself back to “normalcy”, I attempted therapy, hoping to work through these unfamiliar feelings and my disengagement. After a few sessions, I felt a little better, but the void and feelings of despondency were still very much there. I also tried applying for new (and different) roles internally, within the group and for opportunities outside the organisation, but there were no new job prospects. I hung in there for as a I could, continued with therapy, but I still did not feel like myself. In fact I was no where close!

Desperate at how things were going, tired from the many sleepless nights and my struggle with anxiety, especially when I had to answer work phone calls, respond to e-mails or attend meetings, it become harder to hang in there. I could not do it anymore. It was when my health also started to deteriorate that I finally decided to resign, leaving a comfortable salary, benefits (medical, bonus, data and retirement benefits) and security.

How did I get here?

#Alignment

I no longer felt like my career aspirations and the role I had were aligned. Surprisingly, I knew that my heart was within the financial services or FinTech space when I rejoined the organisation in 2019, but I thought this would change over time. Quietly, I lost a piece of myself each time I tried convincing myself to stay longer, hoping things would change. With each pep talk I gave myself in the morning to be positive and grateful, especially because my exit plan was not solid yet, the deeper into the darkness. I sank. It was harder because as a financial wellness advocate, I encourage people to have financial plans. Convincing myself to leave without a plan was a big risk, even for me. So I had to think clearly about my next move.

I decided to work on an exit plan and prepare what I called my “survival budget”. This is a plan to survive for at least 6 months without a salary, which entailed saving aggressively and paying off debt so I can live without financial pressure post corporate. What a mammoth task!

I worked through my numbers to determine if I could realistically survive on my savings and income from the various side hustles. I gradually downgraded my lifestyle, which was easier with all the COVID-19 restrictions. I paid off my credit card, personal loan and overdraft facilities using my salary, bonuses and additional income from my side gigs. Though the financial plan was going well, the fear of leaving a comfortable job during a global pandemic haunted me for months on end, especially with many companies retrenching or offering salary pay cuts.

TKO Consultancy Office

With no job prospects in the pipeline, physical and mental health deteriorating, a number of side hustles and a company registered, I decided to weather the storm, finally leaving in June 2021. At the time of deciding to leave my corporate job, TKO Consultancy was established and growing. It had a corporate identity, defined its value proposition, had office equipment (laptops and printer), office furniture, office space and a few paying clients (though not completely profitable). Nervous, anxious and with a lot of doubt – “are you seriously leaving your job during a pandemic” I convinced myself it would HAVE TO WORK!

It’s been four months since and the journey continues. I’m still scared, regularly asking if I made the correct decision. Though I’ve accomplished amazing milestones, I am still trying to find myself in this new world. To be honest, the transition is far more complicated than anticipated, but I am glad I took the step, flirted and danced with fear. So what’s next for TKay?

Catch all of this in the next blogpost!

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