Finding Your Cheese

You Need to Believe In YourselfWhen I was first made redundant in April my husband bought me this card. It made me smile and it made me think. I still have it up in my kitchen to remind myself that anything is possible.

You get that a lot when you get made redundant – people telling you to look on it as a positive thing not a negative thing, which is great. But also makes you feel quite panic stricken with terror and pressure to really make this count. Don’t fritter away all your redundancy payment – do something meaningful with it. Go do what you’ve always wanted to do.

Good advice right? But what do I want to do?

Do I want to go find another job doing what I was doing before? Sure I loved my job, but was it more because of the people I worked with and the fantastic work that the organisation did that I really believed in? Or was it the satisfaction of actually doing the job? Is it what I really really want to do?

I have done quite a lot of soul searching over the past few months and I think that there are certainly other things I would enjoy doing more, but they are not all that practical.

I have a large mortgage, a ridiculously ‘characterful’ house that is a little like the Money Pit* only on a less grand scale, and two small children whose feet keep growing and whose needs keep changing. This week my daughter wants to take up the flute… gah… have you seen the price of flutes?

So I need to be practical right?

*Oh by the way here is one of my favourite scenes from The Money Pit – for nostalgia! And to remind us that things can ALWAYS be worse:

So… where was I? Oh yes…so I made a long list of ideal careers way back when redundancy was just a concept in December – and I didn’t really think it would happen to me. But it was good research. I found that 90% of my dream careers I am too late for.

I’d love to do something really useful, be an expert in something that people really need. Or something creative that is fun. Like interior design, garden design, art restoration or become an optician, a midwife or a sonographer… the list was long… but gradually I whittled it down and realised that without going back to study full time at great expense. None of these ideas were really going anywhere.

So what now…? Keep fingers crossed I would get another job in the shake up and not be made redundant… well that didn’t work out so good did it?

So at this point my ever supportive husband gave me a book which really changed my outlook.

It’s written by Dr Spencer Johnson and is called: Who Moved My Cheese?

It’s a very short book but if you want the easy option you can watch the video her


The basic premise is that “change happens – they keep moving the cheese!” The ‘cheese’ in my case being my lovely comfortable job that I had been doing for the past 12 years. Which I thought would always be there for me, even when the signs were everywhere that it was not really a given that I would have a job after the re-shuffle, I still thought deep down, that it would always be there.
In the story there are 4 characters, two mice called Sniff and Scurry and two little people called Hem and Haw.
The mice don’t overthink things and when the cheese is gone they go too and look for new cheese in the big scary maze of the unknown. Hem and Haw however react rather differently – with their big human brains they angst and regret and overthink and worry themselves into paralysis.
I won’t spoil the whole thing for you but the basic message is good, the basic message is: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Go enjoy change – savor the adventure!
Now nobody really likes change, so enjoying it is quite a stretch, but I love the idea of asking yourself what you would do if you weren’t afraid?
So for the moment, I am venturing forth into the maze to look for my new cheese. I am lucky enough to have a little bit of breathing space financially to think about what I would like to do and to learn some new skills and work on my hobbies and see if they take me anywhere and if not, then I have a broad range of digital skills that I can fall back on. Maybe I can even do both. In the modern world we live in, it is becoming more and more possible to work flexibly and fit in project work around your other commitments, be it children or hobbies or both!
So I wish good luck to anyone out there in a similar boat to me – let’s try not to be scared – get out there into the maze of life and look for some new cheese to make you happy. When you stop being afraid you feel good! So be kind to yourself, try to keep that rising sense of financial panic in check, push it down back into it’s jar and screw the lid on tight and go out and enjoy the adventure while you can.
I wonder where it will take us?



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