Don’t force yourself to fit in where you don’t belong

I want to tell you a story.

When I first moved to London from Stockholm (many years ago now) it was without a job, without a plan and an open mind. I didn’t know the job market, or the culture and I didn’t have any contacts to help me out. I therefore got very overwhelmed and ended up taking a role that was pushed on me by a Rec to Rec (Recruiter who recruits recruiter for those who don’t know).

The job wasn’t bad and the people were nice. I learned a lot there. However, it was in a very corporate environment. The kind where you wear a suit and heels every day. The kind where people end their emails with “kind regards” even though they have worked together for years. The kind where you put on your “professional persona” in the morning and leave you “personal persona” at home.

It was also an environment where you were expected to speak in a certain way and where you were criticized for making a grammar mistake or forgot an “S” at the end of a word. As the only non-native English speaker in the same type of role it was extremely daunting and it took a massive toll on my confidence.

I worked in that environment for a couple of years and I desperately tried to fit in. I really did like the people and I thought it was what I wanted. What I should want.

I used to sit on the tube during the morning commute and look at people who were dressed casually and wondering how it would feel like not having to dress up in something you didn’t feel like yourself in. I envied them.

I was feeling insecure about my ability to do the job as I didn’t feel like myself at work, my motivation started to decline as I wasn’t passionate about what I did. I started to get anxiety as I felt that I wasn’t delivering the results I should, which effected my sleep and ultimately my physical and mental health. Pretty toxic right? I still didn’t see that I was in the wrong place, I still thought I had to try harder! (tunnel vision or what???)

It wasn’t until someone new entered my life and pointed out to me how destructive my professional life was. I suddenly could see that I needed to make a change. And when I made that decision, I suddenly saw a sea of opportunities.

Eventually I changed to a role in a much more creative industry. Here the clients and colleagues finished their emails with “xx”. Here people showed up in ripped jeans, sneakers and pink hair. Here I got complements about my level of English and my positive energy every day and my confidence in myself sky rocked. Here your professional and personal persona was the same thing! I had found my place. Here I could leverage my strengths and tap into my inner power.

The other place was not a bad place. It was just not my place.

If you recognise yourself in my story. If you are still in a job that drains your confidence, that drains your energy, that drains your motivation, then I want to tell you that there are other options. You can still find your place. Don’t force yourself to fit in where you don’t belong.

If you want help finding your place, connect with me HERE and we can see if and how I can help you.