Phew! Yesterday was my first day out of work in decades and I’ve survived. Coffee and pastry in bed courtesy of my gorgeous, hard-pressed wife. Bit of aimless internet browsing. Ordered some mouthwash and a boxed DVD set. A lot of chat and ‘wowness’ reacting to the overwhelming tide of support and love flooding in from social media. Twitter, Facebook both busy. LinkedIn bonkers, absolutely bonkers. 450,000 views when I last looked, and I only posted two days ago. Lovely, lovely comments to warm my confused and doubting heart. Confused and doubting because even yesterday, I really wasn’t sure I had done the right thing. For me or for the family. More coffee by the sea to reflect and breathe. Multiple visits to the loo as a result.
My LinkedIn post was something of a eulogy to Dixons Carphone and how the team have treated me during my time there. After all, I strolled in twelve years ago oblivious to the fact I had MS. And rolled out in a wheelchair. All the time, from diagnosis through to departure, I have been so very well treated, and I won’t forget it. Should be the norm, but it isn’t….
I’ve been rather quiet on my blog, and indeed on social meeja, while I wrestled with the idea of leaving my safe, cosy job full of great colleagues and handy benefits. (Handiest of all, pay). Change is hard and scary at the best of times, but when I genuinely don’t know what’s next, it’s just terrifying! Who’ll pick up the phone to a bloke in a wheelchair? How long will my fuzzy brain stay not-too-fuzzy-most-of-the-time? This growing feeling of grief I have felt these last few weeks at the thought of leaving, and of missing colleagues. Will it go?
It’s been perhaps six months of angst since it dawned on me – and Mrs W – that maybe I should move on. I was working harder and harder. A bit to prove to myself I was still functioning. A lot because I needed to just to keep up. Some point soon I was going to let someone down, and I was exhausted.
And 2017 didn’t help at all in the whole process. It was far and away our ‘Annus Totalus Grieficus’. Losing my beloved and beautiful younger sister. Leaving my own small hospital ward at exactly the same time, knowing that two brave, cheerful guys in it would soon be dead from aggressive cancers. Moving out from our dream home (and away from a dream group of friends) to kick-start a new existence by the sea. Experiencing a ‘faux grief’ when our then 11 year-old ran out in front of a car and was hit full on at 40mph. He was out of hospital the next day with only deep cuts, bruises and a bit of internal bleeding. A miracle, but the ‘what if’ hangs over us every single day, even now. And to cap it all, our kitten dying the very next week to bring everyone’s trauma – especially our son’s – flooding and wailing out… Oh, and then our gardener briefly disappeared down a gaping sinkhole that suddenly opened up. on our lawn Turned out to be an abandoned well, but made for a good story and summed up our year perfectly.
Grief, grief, grief.
So how do I feel now? Relief relief relief. Looking back, Dixons never put a jot of pressure on me. Hopefully because I was doing a half-decent job. Partly perhaps because they appreciated what was happening. The pressure was all me. Already I am getting back on an even keel. Now I have time to stretch and exercise. Moments to nap. And on the flip side, the phone-calls and emails haven’t stopped with juicy opportunities to explore. So much so that I have pushed everything back to next week whilst I take it all in.
Leaving Dixons Carphone was a surreal and painful thing to do. Leaving colleagues I have kinda grown up with was awful. But now I know my body and the winning 51% of my befuddled brain was right. And Mrs W is always right. Onwards!