Letting intuition take the wheel
Four years ago I was listening to the radio while driving at work. The news at the top of the hour chattered away while I was thinking about, I guess, work stuff. The announcer finished one story, took a breath and began the next. It was at that point that everything they said suddenly became clear and loud. As if they were sitting in the seat beside me, reading directly and only to me. Government had agreed to work toward launching a bold new initiative across multiple agencies, worth billions of dollars in a field of utterly no connection to the one I was currently working in. I remember driving along and thinking to myself: ‘That would be a cool project to be involved with’.
Be careful what you muse about, for it may come true.
At the time I was happy in my career and loved my job. The business I worked for was, however quietly deteriorating and though I was trying to blank it out and get on with doing a good job, I can see now that my unconcious mind had other ideas. It had been teaming up with my intuition and my gut to swap war stories and hatch a plan. All while I drove around and got on with my day job. Those three, I was to learn, keep their own counsel in life and it would be wise to hear them out and even occassionally, let them take the wheel.
Three years ago I stepped away from that job and into … an empty space. I wanted to leave and financially I could do so. I see in hindsight, this is a gift offered to few. Toward the end of my time at that business, things became surreal, I felt as though I was being guided through ghastliness, with people intending to hurt and undermine me and my work. I found myself responding with bland logic. I read the false invitations to ‘share’ with toxic workmates and management and saw them for what they were. Unsafe and unhealthy. The Morgan Freeman voice-over in my head spent a lot of time saying: “Don’t react! Don’t engage.This is insincere. This is a trap”.
The worse the environment became, the more elevated and detached I felt; as though I was being carried along by some greater force. I had never experienced anything like it before. I felt calm. At night I slept like a baby. I found podcasts and books that advised and guided me. I kept a journal of all the strange and unpleasant exchanges in my work place. Trusted and wise friends came into my sphere at all the right times and offered me confidential solace. These safe spaces allowed my unconcious to unwind weird work events, rearrange them and identify the unhealthy patterns and intentions. I let intuition take the wheel, negotiated my terms and got out. Control-Alt-Delete.
Two years ago I was a blur. Without the duty of showing up at a workplace I reinvented my personal landscape. I placed no expectations on myself and, apart from visiting an elderly parent, did only what interested me. I realise this allowed my unconcious mind to process what had happened to me while keeping me feeling safe. Safe to heal. Some days were fine, others not so much. In the privacy of my own home, I processed what had happened. Physically things manifested once I left work, so I showed this respect and allowed myself time to recover. I spent my time cleaning, sorting, renovating, labelling, landscaping, cooking, reading, and listening. An active processor.
I felt quietly concerned as roles in my industry would be posted yet I noticed I felt no desire to apply. It was as though the roles were stale and uninviting. What would I do next? How would I survive financially in the long term? Would I ever see the likes of my juicy old salary again? Would I regret my actions? I felt quietly worried and yet at the same time I didn’t have the energy to worry.
At some point during the frenzy of home improvement I realised I had to let go of my preoccupation with an uncertain future, and let my intuition take the wheel. I was going to go where I felt I needed to, not where I felt obliged to be. My partner said to me: “What would you like in your next role?” I remember replying: “Not to be working with a bunch of f$%k-wits”. He half-closed his eyes and told me I couldn’t say that. I thought to myself “watch me”.
A year ago I started a new job, as part of the initiative that was announced over the radio four years prior. It is a cool project. It’s worthy and new. My colleagues are critical thinkers and kind. I work flexible hours for a manager who is busy and trusts me to get the job done, so I do.
I remembered looking at my first pay check and realising with mild shock, it was for two weeks’ work not one, so I got resourceful. I chose to look at this new role as an apprenticeship with a refreshing field of new connections, where further opportunities will unfurl. I now have a side-gig. In fact I have two. Time is money and I’ve been able to work on my home space which is paying off in added value. This isn’t forever but it is for now and I’m broadening my skills and connections.
I choose to know this will work and I know that sometimes, you have to stop clenching the wheel and let a greater life force steer for a while. Sit back and enjoy the ride.
Written by a friend of Self unLimited who shares raw details of their experience, so they requested anonymity in the publishing of this content. This article is a continunity of their journey shared in Surviving bullying in the workplace (2020) and Moving On (2021).