The Year that was… 2015

As 2015 slowly winds down (I’ve started to write this at the end of November), I find myself moved, as always, to compose my thoughts on the year gone by and jot them down. Where to begin?

Work

It’s my professional life that has seen the most change this year, with drama from the start. My manager at my (then) job in office supply retail resigned at the end of January, having had enough (understandably!) of the company’s ineptitude. I don’t exaggerate when I say he was sorely missed, not just by me but by everyone, and I consider him to be a friend as well as a manager I respected. His departure from that place sparked my own quest to leave, and I had several interviews – including one with a pretigious London department store, a job I came very close to getting, but agonisingly, just missed out on.

I won’t lie, missing out on that particular job hurt, and it still does. It would have been a remarkable thing to note on a CV, and I would have been honoured to work there, even despite the stress and hassle of traveling into London every day.

My now former employers slipped further and further into decline, with head office taking forever to appoint a new manager to the store. This left myself, another team leader and a part-time sales manager to somehow juggle the responsibilities of a general manager on top of our regular duties, and whilst we did have sporadic support from other stores, the area manager paid very little attention to our plight, and visited us just once. He left us to sink without offering any help, and I am very, very disappointed in his attitude to our situation.

It would be fair to say I was unhappy at this point. The month of February was a long one, as was half of March. We struggled – I struggled, and felt there was nowhere to really turn. The area manager was useless and uncaring, and this was also the case with the company as a whole.

Then things began to turn around. The new manager started, and for a time, things began to improve. The store got organised again, and I felt I could flourish once more. Oh how wrong I would prove to be.

Without going into specifics (former colleagues may be reading this and I don’t want to land anyone in it), it was suggested to me that certain (untrue) suggestions had been made about me. I had to explain myself to the area manager in person (which I did, and was no bother), and afterward, I asked my manager to have a word with the person who had made these suggestions. To my knowledge, he never did.

Ultimately, leaving was as much for the sake of my sanity and health as anything else. Stuck in a job with no prospects and an atmosphere that was becoming poisonous, combined with a head office that had no clue how to run a business, I realised I had to leave, not only for the sake of my career but for my well-being. Leaping into the unknown was risky, and to be honest, I feel very bitter about the circumstances, but I had to act in my best interests, and I did just that.

The upshot of it all is that I have ended up in a career that plays to my strengths, even if at first I wasn’t at all sure of the industry. My former colleagues and manager have repeatedly told me I’m a good salesman, and you know what? I am.

I’ve heard several stories come out from my former employers, regarding how the store has been over the course of the past few months. If I ever needed validation of my decision to go, these stories are very much it!

As the new job has progressed I’ve sharpened and honed my salesman skills. I am bloody proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish so far there and I look forward to seeing what else I can do!

Personal

I am fortunate that, after what was a difficult year last year, 2015 has been kinder on the personal front. My loved ones and friends are healthy and I had the pleasure of meeting an old friend earlier in the year for a few drinks and merriment! My wife is well and my daughter continues to astound and amaze me. She is now at school proper – where has my little baby gone? Her personality is shining through now – she is a very relaxed and chilled little girl, with a wonderful creative streak – she likes to draw, she likes to bake (yes, she loves making cakes and biscuits!), and she likes to make her ponies… erm… do battle?!

It’s been the love of my family that helped me get through the tough times earlier in the year. I owe a lot to them this year – more so than usual. My wife, my mum and my dad have in particular shared my tumultuous journey and got me through it. Without them it would have been all too much for me.

Despite the tension, stress and pressure at the start of the year, I feel like the shackles have come off this year. Being free of my thankless role with my previous employers has given me a new lease of life, and I feel like I’m appreciating the world around me a little bit more. I enjoyed a wonderful trip to the Tower of London earlier in the year with my mum, wife and daughter, and back in May had a much-needed week in Yarmouth with my wife, daughter, step-daughter and granddaughter. These were much needed family occasions that gave me the chance to recharge my batteries and get myself back into a good place (my little girl got her first experience of a horse and carriage ride too!)

2015 can best be defined as a transitional year. It started out tough – very tough. It’s ending on a positive note. I have to be happy with that!

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