It was 6 months ago, almost to the day that I left my job in the pharmaceutical industry. I had been at the company for 12 years (almost made my 13th anniversary).
I started in the admin team, when the company was small and finding its feet in the industry – I think there were 50 people there at the most. The job changed constantly and I was soon promoted to a senior position in the team. After a while, I started to get itchy feet and could do the admin job standing on my head, yet I didn’t necessarily want to leave the company – there were other departments that had been created whilst the company grew and one in particular caught my attention. I was already the Development Director’s PA and looking after his team, organising their meetings with Key Opinion Leaders, conference attendance and day to day running of their diaries and making sure they were behaving themselves J. I was extremely lucky when I voiced my desire to move to the clinical team (despite having no degree or real in depth knowledge of the area) but they saw my passion and moved me to a Clinical Trial Administrator. I worked hard, studied through Manchester University’s Pharmaceutical Industrial Advanced Training and got myself a Certificate in Clinical Development – the people who supported me during that time will tell you how tough I found it and most weeks found me asking millions of questions and a few moments of “I can’t do this”.
My first boss, Julie, was keen to get me involved in lots of different areas of clinical and regulatory work and I spent a lot of time under her wing, shadowing her, sitting in on various meetings (at first thinking I was completely out of my depth!) and was lucky enough to go to different hospital / clinics across Europe for monitoring and auditing and attend an Investigator Meeting.
Fast forward another couple of years and several changes in management, it became clear that my original career path of becoming a Clinical Study Manager wasn’t going to happen despite my constant desire to learn, progress and the experience I’d already built up. People around me could see how annoyed and upset I was at this halt in career. It got to a point where most evenings I was getting home from work and being in tears over one drama or another or just the fact that every time I wanted to do something to help my career goal it got tossed aside.
During 4-6 months of this merry-go-round, my husband and I had some very long conversations about what I would do next, where would I go – there’s hardly an abundance of pharma companies out there in Wiltshire and I didn’t want to drive to Reading every day (over an hour each way if you’re lucky in rush hour). Could we afford to lose my salary and still live the life we had? I’m a real worrier about money but seeing as John is a financial adviser, he’d gone over the figures again and again with me to show that we could manage and if needed I’d find another job.
At the end of March 2015, I handed in my notice and walked out of the door for the last time on 24 April 2015. I felt relieved, frightened and excited all in one go.
Since then, I have had a complete change in career – I now work with John in his financial advisory business running the admin / accounts side of the business and keeping him on track. I don’t think he quite realised how very organised I am and love a process to get sh** done! By taking the admin away from John, it means he can see more clients and concentrate on the financial advising work that he’s really good at. Admin is not his favourite thing in the world!
I feel happier, more relaxed and have a better work / life balance. My friends have commented that I’m back to the “old me”. I go to the gym most days, I try and do my 30 days of yoga challenge every day, we walk the dogs every lunchtime together, it’s great to just be in the fresh air and until recently the warm sunshine every day. I’ve started taking more interest in what we eat now that I have the time to plan the meals and learn to cook some new recipes rather than the trusty go to ones that we had time and time again. I’m able to run errands during the week that mean I don’t have to go to the shops / bank / post office at the weekend. I also had a 6 hour lunch break on Tuesday…!! I also get the chance to spend more time with John and his daughter when she visits in the holidays – normally I’d be up early, leaving them tucked up in their beds!!
A random midweek visit to London!
We’ve set up a new business, which will include Will Writing and Estate planning, administration services and later down the line, social media management. I’m excited to start working with another company from November on their administration.
As you may have already read here, we are looking at going to Spain for 6 weeks in March 2016 (we will be working from there!) but we wanted to give it a try.
We’re so lucky that we can do all of these things – in my previous life, this would never have been an option. I am grateful every day that my husband encouraged me to let go of a situation that was wearing me out and that there was life outside of that company despite it being my comfort blanket for nearly 13 years.
Of course, I’m also grateful for the amazing friends that I made during my 12 years, some have now left, some are still there and others are on maternity leave…you know who you all are if you are reading this!!
In the next 6 months, I’d like to continue writing my blog, perhaps spend some time volunteering, learn how to use the new DSLR camera we’ve had for a few months now, obviously celebrate Christmas (!!) and start to develop our new business and watch it grow with John together.
If you’ve had doubts about where your career is going, or you’re doing a long commute every day and it’s getting you down, I’d urge you to look at your options, don’t be scared and follow your dreams and desires.
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