I woke up in the middle of the night three days ago. I couldn’t sleep though I was terribly tired.
These past weeks have really been a test for me. I have learnt a little more about myself, realised how anxious I let myself become (and how to control it), but also how much determination and optimism have guided me.
It is curious how we let positivity and negativity play out and actively impact our mindset and actions and how in parallel, confidence either spreads through our bodies like wildfire or suddenly retracts like air sucked from a pouch. The oscillation between the one and the other is triggered by multiple events that either build or diminish your confidence and belief in yourself. It is a true learning process to take failures in your stride and push that oscillation back to the positive as fast as possible.
To recap the situation, I was desperate to guide my career towards something not only more enjoyable but that would allow me to flourish and where I could set my own ambitions along a path which would develop me more as a person and build skills I wanted to acquire and excel in, namely writing. I wanted an environment where I could develop interests, learn and feed off the surroundings. But without knowing exactly what it is you are good at and still in the process of discovery, it is difficult to sell yourself as a box of tools when the tools are still being built. You have to take guesses and work in a process of elimination.
Working at the Chinese school made me realise two important things. The first is that I wasn’t full-blown marketing material, I didn’t enjoy prospecting other companies and I didn’t enjoy spending all my time on social media. I knew it was a job I could do, but one that I would not enjoy in the long term and I had no interest in evolving to the next rank along the hierarchical ladder: the idea of becoming a Marketing Manager was simply unappealing. It took me exactly 6 weeks for this thought to arise: “Do I want my boss’s job?” and when the answer came like a lightning of revolt “NO!”, a cloud cleared in my mind. It came to me as a nice yet depressing feeling, as I understood this was not for me. Although this brought me back to square one, certitude is still a blessing.
My second important realisation is that the only part I enjoyed about the job was writing the blog and editing content for the rest of the team (who were mainly Chinese). So this opened up editing as an option, but having no experience, it was a case of jumping around shaking my arms in the air on square one hoping someone on square two would give me a hand up.
Well I jumped around with that lingering thought, “How long am I going to have to jump for?” while square two kindly had its back to me. All the while there was constant hummer of anxiety, waiting to blow up in the face of failure.
From there I have had the best of luck as everything started falling into place. If you read what I wrote in “The elation of the ‘click'” in the Anecdotes and Writing part of the blog, you will know that I received the most welcome email by an editor at Ctrip. They offered me to intern with them, and although it was without compensation, I thought it was a great training opportunity. Still I was desperate to find something more permanent as I couldn’t afford to continue on this internship-hopping spree I had begun.
The best of luck befell me when I scraped through two interviews with a high-end magazine and was offered a position as a Junior Editor, which I would have immediately snatched up if the Senior Editor at Ctrip didn’t stop me by informing me that she was leaving soon and had put forward my resume to HR who would be offering me a position with Ctrip I might want to consider before signing with Vantage Magazine.
The relief I felt was indescribable.
I went home that evening so relieved, yet my mind was still buzzing, half relaxing and coveting the good news, half in stupor. Like a string being plucked into life, taking a little moment to recover its initial stability, my mind has been triggered into oscillating madness these past weeks and is only starting to recover. I couldn’t sleep that night after getting the second offer from Ctrip. At 4am I walked out onto my balcony and a peaceful view met my eye and for a second my mind calmed and paced itself, taking it in.
It was a perfect moment, standing there looking at this view, and a rush of pleasure seized me tingling through my shoulders and up to the corner of my eyes. I thought of how proud I was that I had managed to do all this by myself. I really didn’t think I had it in me to cope with the stress I had or make the decisions I made. There was a drive that I fed how I could; when I was put down by one person I called four others to get something positive to feed upon, and it has made all the difference.
A rush of delight and ecstasy went through me as I looked at this view of Shanghai and realised how happy I am to be here.