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This week my managers sat me in a meeting, agreed to give me a team for the humongous project I’m working on and extended my contract from December until March. The next day I got a headache. The day after that I went home after being in the office for 2 and a half hours. I felt awful.

The truth is I’m scared. The positives are that I am learning so much. Strategy, governance, project management skills, data gathering and analysis, plus I’m meeting so many new people and I’m able to pay some bills off. In my last role I was getting paid more money but I wasn’t growing or really feeling stretched. The new role is challenging and I am enjoying it.

But. How do I keep the balance and  stay focused on dreams? When they offered the extension I instantly informed them that I might be going abroad as part of another project (Film Guys) and there was a weird moment where one of my managers thought I was attempting to moonlight. I was clear, it’s not that…I just wont be here! But that’s the issue. I don’t know when that project will come to fruition, I’m not really too sure how much time it will take up and the job means that my flexibility is now reduced. It is a temping role so (as the other manager pointed out) I can leave when I want without giving notice (and vice versa I guess).

Then there’s the comments people are making about my part time job. In my last role noone knew I had an evening job and it just made answering questions like “what d’you get up to last night” and declining the millionth after work drinks invitation really awkward. But here I was open with them and the news has spread like wildfire. Even the Director of my department has decided “I have my whole life to work” and should take it easy. My immediate thought was “But I don’t want to be working into my 50s like you”, but I smiled politely.

And the environment has already begun to change my energy. I’m working in an organisation that has undergone a major restructure. Most people I speak to have been in their current role for well under a year, even if they’ve been with the organisation for 10. I sit next to one of the survivors who got a pretty rough deal and doesn’t mind reminding everyone about what went down. Daily.

I wonder how I can protect myself from the ‘artificialness’ of the environment. The office is based in a 5 building business park and is a huge open plan set up. Like asking someone to meet you by the photocopier would be like standing on any high street in Central London and telling someone to meet you at the Starbucks. There are so many. And so many people. I estimate at least 250 on my floor alone. Each of us sit in a ‘bank’ marked with a location coordinate code (J2, B11 etc), which on my first day I likened to a multistory car park and as I looked out the window at the multistory car park, the layouts looked freakishly similar.

No opening windows, air con controlled centrally and permanently set to ice cold. There are no local shops. Nearest are a short drive away or bus ride. Gym, canteen and cafe on site, there’s even a sandwich lady that comes around ringing her bell and pushing her trolley of goodies for those who have no desire to breath fresh air until 5pm.

I guess I can stop the rant and sum this up by saying I can’t stay here for long. It’s inline with everything I’ve deprogrammed out of my system this past year. The fact that I’m getting headaches again after just one month is not a comforting sign.

I also don’t want to lose confidence in my business and my dreams and begin to feel I don’t have time for them. I’m pretty tired when I get home from work and so literally have a shower, eat and go to sleep. I’m really not about that life.

So I need to plan!

So far I’ve come up with:

1. Cutting at least one day a week so I work 4 days like my manager (or less)

2. Make sure an outside project that requires my full time attention is in place by March so I have no choice but to quit.

3. Work out a work plan for my personal time to ensure I meet my business goals as well.

I will take one action towards all of these this week and see how I feel.

Any tips on creating that balance would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :)