Have you ever noticed that one’s musings, plans, dreams become so much more memorable if you give them a name?  In my opinion, it also helps me to explain my thoughts to others and miraculously adding the word ‘theory’ to the end of them seems to add credence.

In this light then let me explain my stepping stone theory.  I’ve often found myself in jobs where initially I found them enjoyable, they then drifted into being workable, and then sadly became untenable for a variety of reasons.  I tend to have a switch in my head that after much dimming suddenly fails to switch on anymore and I feel the compulsion to leave.  Sometimes more unexpectedly than I should, but often a sort of ‘exit stage left’ if you like.  Now, I am not one for saying that people should resign without a job to go to, but I’ve done this a few times and it’s because instinctively I’ve known that I could no longer stay.

There inevitably follows a period of self-reflection.  If I am being honest, a bit of panic too and thoughts of how I could have done things differently, but inevitably things work out OK.  In this period of time, the way I navigate the process is by evoking my ‘stepping stone’ theory.  In other words,  for every step you take in your search for your new job or for a new situation,  for every metaphorical stone you jump on, you are learning something and it is taking you closer to where you want to be.  These ‘jumps’ may be into temporary work, voluntary work or something far removed from your own comfort zone, but that is the whole point.  You see what other arenas are like, you view other opportunities from a position of curiosity, you do not judge yourself, you allow yourself to make mistakes.   You often find out along the way what you don’t want to do and can quickly eliminate it.

Now this ‘theory’ should ideally have a finite time (after all, we do not want to end up in a worse scenario than the one we left) and most importantly should be adopted with some sound financial planning ahead of it.  This means that when you are trying out new workplaces you should have the security of knowing that you are not putting them on your CV, and by that I mean your work history, and at the same time, as you experiment, you still ensure that you are not putting your financial situation at risk.  When quizzed on this ‘time out’ in job interviews, I refer to it as a ‘sabbatical’ or a period of time when I wanted to explore other opportunities, which everyone understands is difficult when you are in a full-time job.

I am not going to pretend that following this process works for anyone except myself.  Nor am I going to pretend that it is easy.  It can take a lot…. and I mean…. a LOT of emotional resilience, but it certainly can have its benefits. When in this process, my experience is you will find that you are constantly learning, looking at new possibilities, maybe even revisiting ideas that have been niggling away at you for a long time.  However, I do believe that time away can really help you to think more creatively and with luck each stone will lead to another, until you reach the place that you really want to be.

© stripedsisters 2019

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