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Sunday, 20 July 2014

An end, and a beginning

It's been a long two years, but it’s finally here.

Back in 2011, after 7 years in my job, I started to get a growing sense that it was time to move on. A great project opportunity; uncertainty about how I would resign, given I was also a shareholder; and the time needed to decide what I might do next, meant the year came and went with my job unchanged.
My workplace for much of the last ten years. Photo by Bob Peters.
At the beginning of 2012 a couple of things happened that strengthened my resolve to leave. Unfortunately, about two month’s later, we were told the company was being sold and those of us who were shareholders would need to stay put to realise the value of the firm.

Things got worse from there, as we found we’d not only have to stay until the sale, but we’d be locked into a two-year contract with limited access to leave. Being a relatively minor shareholder, I didn’t have a lot of say in the matter.

The next six months were hard, really hard. On the whole I’d loved my time at the original company, we'd had a strong set of values that we lived by, we were treated as adults and given autonomy over our work, and I was given opportunities that I found exciting and challenging. The new company was a global entity that gave me none of these things.
Our lovely studio and two of my favourite team mates. Photo by Mel Koutchavlis.
After grieving the loss of the original company, I decided the only way to get through the two years was to take matters into my own hands.

“Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.”  – Victor Frankl

I had often thought about doing a particular textiles course in Melbourne and I also knew that of our three company offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, the Melbourne one was least affected by the sale. So, I applied for a transfer, and got it. It didn’t hurt that my managing director has been extremely supportive of me through all this, and that one of my closest friends was running the Melbourne operation.

The move was good. It gave me a place to hide out and regroup, and while last year meant a lot of frustration and uncertainty, these last six months have been full-on, as everything I applied for came to fruition, along with a major work project and a house move.
The camaraderie was part of what made the original company so special. Photo by Mel Koutchavlis.
And now, yesterday, Saturday, marked the end of the two years. Our final share payment is in the bank, and tomorrow I will hand in my resignation. It’s a bittersweet moment. The original workplace was quite easily the best job I’ve ever had, I grew so much in my career and met some wonderfully inspiring people, as well as making some lifelong friends. And part of me is terrified at the step I’m taking – quitting my job and heading off overseas for an artist’s residency. Even this week I’ve had someone say to me “You’re so brave. I wish I had the courage to do that”. And in that moment I have a clutch of fear in my stomach and wonder what on earth I am doing.

In the end though, I know have an opportunity that many dream of, but few get – and despite the trepidation, I'm so looking forward to this new beginning.

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