The journey of 3 jobs, 3 schools, and 3 houses
Wow, as I wrote the title, I realised how unstable or unsettled my life might seem to be. However, it doesn’t feel like that at all. Let me explain.
The reason I came to this country for a second Master's degree in 2007 and joined the workforce in 2008 was to get away from the boredom that had set in during my Ph.D. stint in India. Even though I had a full 5-year research scholarship from the Government of India to pursue my Ph.D. in Maths and a lectureship job at the top College in the country, nothing was good enough to justify why I should carry on with a Ph.D. that would continue to bore me for the next few years. I told myself that a change of scenery would help and left the country with an education loan and a lot at stake to prove myself for.
Working hard was the only way I knew and the only thing which was in my control when everything in the world was going outside of my control – like the 2008 financial crisis in the year when I was supposed to enter the banking workforce. I secured a Distinction for my MSc in Financial maths and secured a banking job amidst all the uncertainty. I did well at work and changed 3 jobs in quick succession to reach a stage where I would be comfortable with the pace, demand, and intellectual input expected from me at work. I told myself that I would settle into this 3rd company for a long time to come, and so I did. It has been over 12 years here out of the 15 years of my corporate career. My role title in the last decade has changed many times, but there is some stability that comes with staying in the same company.
Whilst the career front remained stable, it was the personal front that needed a change of scenery. Based closer to work previously, the schools around were not that great. We also had a second child and our first house would have been smaller for a family of four. So, we decided to move to a greener part of London – an area with renowned schools and a bigger house that would accommodate our growing family. People find moving houses very emotional. For me houses are a place that should meet your convenience and requirements of a particular time, and if they don’t, why should one be afraid of the change? The memories you create stay with you just like those you create when you are travelling. If the fear of losing those moments and having to do with only memories never stops us from travelling, why should they stop us from moving homes?
Because the new area promised us renowned state schools, we decided to send our firstborn to an outstanding-rated state school. However, like me, our daughter started to complain that the pace was too slow. She was not challenged intellectually enough and was getting bored. I could immediately relate to that – having taken all the decisions in my life to stay away from boredom. We changed her school in a year to an all round nurturing private school. Straight after this COVID happened and the world as we know it changed. In the new normal, I got to spend a lot of time with my two children. I understood them much better than I ever did in the past. I realised they were quite similar to me in their knack for seeking out challenges and breaking their comfort zone. I realised that the nurturing school we had put the older one in will definitely not be suitable for the strong personality of my younger one who would benefit from a more challenging school. The older one was becoming exceptionally comfortable in her all round nurturing school and wanted some challenge too. This prompted the decision to change school for the 3rd time and move house for the 3rd time to be closer to the new school.
The point of all the above is not to be afraid of change. With every change comes a new opportunity. If you focus on the opportunity instead of focusing on the challenges, the change would end up being more rewarding.
We are still settling into the 3rd school and the 3rd house, so maybe the time to think about the cycle of 4s is some time away 😊