Kemi's blog: Lessons learnt

Remember my first blog for the year where I said I was aiming to relaunch my career in 2020 as I had felt stuck for a while especially since having my kids? Well, that definitely isn’t going to plan! As at the time of writing this, today marks almost EIGHT WEEKS of lockdown and as much as I am the kind of person to take a negative situation, find the positives in it, and make the best of it, I am now definitely exhausted by it all- work, crisis learning a 7 and 4 year old alongside so much distress and uncertainty everywhere I turn to. Screen and video fatigue has reached its peak for me, maybe if I stop checking out other people’s house’s in the background and comparing to mine I won’t be as exhausted!

As the restrictions start to hopefully loosen in the next few weeks, I wanted to share some of the lessons I have learned relating to my desires to pivot my career which is giving me hope, strength, encouragement, and keeping me busy as well as food for thought.

Not all progress is measured by wins, sometimes progress can be measured by losses avoided.
I started the year with an anticipation of steering my career in the direction I want - this was the year I wanted more wins and more progress in my career but instead this pandemic and lockdown has taught me gratitude, patience and appreciation for what I have been able to keep. I have seen people around me say goodbye to their loved ones via facetime and not being able to attend their funerals. Many of my extended family are frontline workers- nurses, carers and a few doctors. Many more people I know firsthand have already lost their jobs and businesses, and I have seen several “offers rescinded” posts on LinkedIn. This has taught me the value of turning what I have into enough. So whilst I am not really in a position to steer my career the way I wanted, I am grateful for life, the job I still have (at least the last time I checked), for the opportunity to spend more time at home with my kids and husband, and that my immediate family are coping.

Just showing up is half the battle.
There were days where I felt incredibly exhausted, de-motivated and anxious with everything going on but I pushed through and stuck to my routine and schedule as I would if I were going into the office. I get up early, shower, get dressed, sort out the kids with the help of my husband, log into work and try to keep the TV off for most of the day. Having two living areas and a deep freezer for bulk meal prep definitely helps. With the current uncertainty in my work department, most days I feel I am hanging to my job by a thread. But I am choosing to show up every single day and moment like I am meant to be there even on those skype video calls where I am the only female and most junior surrounded by “high powered” men, or those days where all I hear is budget cuts. Showing up as I am even when I don’t feel I look great or feel great, even when I am not prepared for the challenge or know all the ‘how’s’ of the matter at hand.

When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves.
I am learning that the current circumstances should not determine where I can go and what I can do in future. I need to focus on what I have, and the best method of preservation is to up my game. Whilst I could be spending more time on my online yoga classes and Facetiming my family and friends during my allotted “me time”, instead since last week, I have started taking some online courses to update some of my expired professional qualifications and add on new ones to expand my skillset. Is it easy? No. Is it necessary? Yes. I don’t have any answers, I don’t know if I will even be able to future proof my career but what I do know is whatever I do or don’t do now will impact upon the results that I want in the future.

I will love to know one thing you have learnt relating to your career from the current situation.

Kemi works for a financial institution in Canary Wharf and is a mum of two boys aged 7 and 4 and married to a supportive husband.

Category: A Citymother's Diary

Sunitha Kumar - 20/05/2020 - 09:24
Thank you for sharing Kemi - reading your blog made me realize that I am not alone in a similar situation. Keep doing what your are doing !    

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