No, it is not an additional mid-life drama which is about to find the meaning of life through going spiritual, to escape from reality and not even an online life-coaching exercise. It is simply a story of a former public servant, who became a corporate person, then turned around and has become an entrepreneur. Yes, a beyond 40+ female in a masculine industry and outside her home country. No, I am not about to give advice, to go deep and explain difficulties, draw conclusions, whatsoever. It is simply about to entertain, to make you laugh, even if you are going through a difficult or painful process to find your way in a similar situation.
The beginning of the end…
1 pc of a good job (means: well-paid, spectacular job, travelling around, working on interesting projects, meeting interesting people, etc.)
1 pc of a good relationship (you can replace with marriage, partnership, however described),
1 pc of an established life,
a portion of jealousy around you
a portion of arrogancy in your environment
1 pc of a not so welcoming country to live in
a portion of reluctance in you to speak the language of that not so welcoming country
a larger portion of humiliation attempts at your workplace
a larger portion of mental strength and commitment to your own goals
a portion of people around you giving you advice on things they themselves have not experienced before
all might slightly be modified as per your own taste.
Live your life with the ingredients above, shake or stir it well. Compare your daily achievements regularly with your dreams. Think through and compare your motivations deep inside you with your job-related opportunities. Read articles about midlife crisis, check magazines on the flights showing celebrities and stars at your age looking much better than you, read about carrier failures, and similar amount of success stories of people starting from a much worse position than you. Regularly compare your relationship with those of the people around you, and make excels of your income and expenditure, to realise that you are spending more and more on cosmetics, wellness, fitness, haematologists, etc., and much less on holidays, going outs, cinemas, theatres and books.
You are almost done.
One more step to complete the process: receive some comments on your femininity, preferably in the context of your professional performance, and some related to your origin, when being provided an explanation on – although you are successful, deliver more than expected and you can motivate your environment – the actual promotion is given to someone else, who is about to join the company soon. A younger male, of course….
You wake up in a morning, preferably on a weekend at which you happen to be alone and realise that you can do whatever you want. You go out running, and after 15 km and some of your stuff lost during the run, your entrance keys included, you realise that something has to happen, otherwise you might go nuts. First thoughts: go shopping and buy something you thought you could not afford; go to a beauty farm to regain your female confidence (at least); go to the hairdresser and choose another colour; buy a new car; or move to another flat, with a better view, more rooms, more light, whatsoever. Another one. A different one, to be accurate.
You go home then and realise: you have to have a shower, dry your hair, make your hair, put on make-up, dress up and take the car to complete any of the above. Ok: not the one related to finding another flat, because you can easily frustrate yourself without leaving your home at finding nice apartments available only in the forthcoming year, or being under construction, and anyway having a huge waiting list for them.
Since the afternoon has come in the meantime, you decide to open a nice bottle of wine, and sit down to your sofa, take one of your salary slips (they are everywhere as the tax declaration period is approaching). And calm down. It is still there. And still coming every month.
Weekends go by, and workdays come. You either go to the office or wake up at 4 a.m. to fly out for the respective trip, spend your time at airports, in taxis and hotels, where your laptop is your company, and becomes harder and harder to figure out in the morning which country you woke up in… It goes on and on, probably with different running tracks, different bottle of wine, different trips to different countries, but with the same feelings emerging. However, only for a while..
You happen to go out with friends, which is always nice, you have very good conversations, listen to the stories of the others and feel that everything is all right. It goes until one of them raises the question: why do you accumulate money? … ???… er….well…why? To have the possibility to say: ‘no’. And you laugh to make fun out of it. To say ‘no’. Yes. That is it. The possibility to say ‘no’ means that you are free. At least free from those things that let you down.
Weeks and weeks go by, and you have the same routine, deliver at work, at home, see your family, your friends, you have a continuous bad feeling inside of you not to see them enough, and one thing emerges in you. To say ‘no’. To be free to say ‘no’. To be independent enough to say ‘no’. And your favourite word becomes ‘no’. This is a different kind of ‘no’. Not the destructive, negative, offending or painful ‘no’, but a positive, open-minded, free, independent, liberating ‘no’.
You live together with this word and the related thoughts for a while until when you wake up in a morning and feel different. You cannot explain why and how, but different. The sun shines differently, the car is parked differently in the garage, the traffic is different, and you arrive to the office in a different mood. You do not freak out at the coffee machine being out of order, the colleague of yours who generated a hill out of his papers and stuff which somehow found their way to your desk, that you have an IP address conflict and an exchange server problem, like most of the Mondays…
And … in a particular moment in time, in a particular office, in a very particular situation you say out loud: ‘no’…
Operationalising the end
Several conversations, emotional blackmails, threats, kind and nasty moves, patronising speeches, jealous and bad willing comments later your termination papers are signed. It becomes official. And you are singing in the car when leaving for home….
Only one step is left: finalise the largest ever deal of your company with your leadership, complete the signing event, … and …. announce internally and externally your resignation….
.. and a new chapter opens…
* * *
The big decision is made. You are out of your job, the company and a part of your world. Actually, mentally and emotionally you have been out for a while. It is an interesting feeling to be in a corporate organisation when you, inside, are out. It does not erode your loyalty and commitment, surprisingly, and do not think it might only be the routine. You are usually not loyal because of a routine, are not you? What changes is that you are no longer affected or touched by anything negative or destructive. You start remembering only the good things…
Right before the grand opening of that new chapter
In order to open that desired new chapter, you have been longing for so long, you have to close the past correctly, meaning that you have to provide information on your leave, not only the fact that you are leaving. Of course, the official announcement is one thing, which is positive and has a thankful tone. Remembering only the nice things. Fair enough. You repeat more or less the same towards your external counterparties, as well, and there you are the one who is thankful and highlights the good things. Done.
Some hours later, when you are at home, with your glass of wine, in a holiday period, emails start to flow in. Oh-oh-oh-oh…. What happened? You open the first ten and get a hit…. You usually have some expectations about from whom to receive what. But it is not what you expected. And it makes you think….
First astonishment is the list of people who took their time to send you a message. Yes. You are right. Those are not the ones you expected to mail you right after the announcement…. And they write things that hit you. Probably a better word is touch. For example: “Though we have not worked closely, I am glad that I know you, …”, “No matter who says what, it will not be the same without you here, …”, etc. And it works…. you become emotional….
As hours and days fly, some of those calls, texts, mails also arrive that you have expected, and they really warm up your heart. But there are some names on the list that you are still waiting for. And waiting and waiting and waiting….
Of course, after a while, those from your environment appear, too, who are curious, what could have happened, … you have been fired, or what …, trying to be smarter and look behind your words, suspiciously trying to catch some tones when you are speaking. It is really unimaginable how much certain people can long for bad news, tragedies, failures, or anything, but positive. Normally, you would feel bad, but this time you think that: “… look buddy, I was strong enough to make a decision while this is the maximum you are capable of….”. And it goes on and on, like this.
First day of the new chapter
1 pc of a birthday reminding you that you got one year older and you no longer have a fancy job
1 pc of issue (at least) to solve or simply arrange with one of the authorities of your original home country
1 pc of a low-profile argument with some people you used to trust
1 pc of invitation (at least) not received, after 17 years, as you are no longer “in the circle”
1 pc of a flight ticket for the very beginning of the year, when all your friends and family members are still on holiday
a portion of loneliness
a portion of doubt that you made the right decision
a large portion of freedom
enough time to do things that you have never had time for
a nice sunny day when you first see your apartment in daytime (after 6 years…)
slightly amended as per your own taste.
Put together the ingredients one by one. Mix them slowly until it gets smooth. Analyse all your recent arguments and failures in detail, preferably before going to bed, and try to find some roots in yourself to feel responsible and enough bad about. Listen to your colleagues and friends about the social event you have not been invited. Make a list of things that you could not solve, and receive comments form your environment on although having enough time, being so incapable. Once you are ready with these, you are almost done.
Pack your bags and try to leave your apartment heading to your home in the not so welcoming foreign country, without crying and feeling extremely lonely. If you are lucky, you might have at least one friend you can call at short notice, to drive you to the airport as an exemption…. He – of course comes – does not ask anything, drives you there without saying a word. He knows exactly that you two are those who do not need to talk, and everything is perfectly clear. You feel happy inside, though you try to hide in the public bathroom until boarding…
The next days…
You wake up in the morning and feel different… This time, it is the heart-breaking, devastating, depressing ‘different’. You do not have a mobile, not even a landline phone, no internet and no television. Not to forget: have no job, no income, and – apparently – no structure in your life. Well. You have books. So you return to your bed, and try to find answers (…or questions???…) in them. Then the noon comes, after that the afternoon, and finally you go to sleep….
A new day comes, and you wake up again. This is still that ‘different’… Hm. You make the same inventory, come to the same conclusion and do the same. Go back to your bed. And it goes like this, until…
After a while you cannot sleep, cannot eat and cannot make difference between day and night…. Something kicks into your mind, like you are not on the right track, but you overrule and continue. One day after another….
Several weeks later you wake up with the thought: enough…. No. More accurately: ENOUGH. You do have to do something. That ‘something’ should be meaningful, different from those things that you can perform in pyjamas within your apartment. You dress up and start living…. Go down to the town, buy a mobile subscription, wifi, television, and a laptop. For start. Some of the gadgets you get immediately, for others you have to wait. Waiting is anyway your favourite, especially when you do not know how much to wait. Currently, you do not freak out, as the only thing you have is: time.
You return to your home, deal with your new acquisitions, take a look at social media and try to apologise for being unavailable, unresponsive, and practically out of any piece of social presence. You collect advice, wishes, warnings, patronising mails and educative texts in an excel for future consideration and utilisation. In case….
Once your television and wifi get installed, you hook on them, and watch almost all available series on Netflix. You can easily get through almost all of them in 3-4 weeks….
First day of the new chapter – reloaded
There comes a day, when you wake up again with the thought – again – that you are not on the right track – again. First step. Well, the second step. No, it is still the first step, but the second attempt….
This time you book a hairdresser, buy a gym pass, say ‘good by’ to Netflix and start – again – to live. Restart. And you do want to enjoy living. Go out running, call your friends and talk to your family, go to the shops, and do things that humans normally do. When they feel human.
You make up your mind, start also to redefine yourself in your profession, have networking meetings, travel, and travel for pleasure, too. Wow. Here you go – you think. This is what you wanted.
Is this what you wanted, really??? Well… something is still missing…. You feel like a human, you are free, and kind of happy. Again. Kind of. Very much ‘kind of’…. What does ‘being professional’ mean? Is your profession a part of your life? Is that your passion? Can you live without your profession? And your passion? Do you really have that much time?…. That much to waste?
…. Well…. You have to think again….
* * *
Profession, professionalism, passion. Wow. An additional three letter mosaic: PPP – for sake of variety… Did you recognise that the more you would like to avoid clichés, the more you have them in your mind? Odd.
Nevertheless, resignation and early retirement, with the purpose of enjoying life, looks much better on paper. No matter how long you have been working on that paper. When you think about it, some common places like: “be careful what you wish, you might receive it”, become so meaningful…
Thinking about thinking
When preparing for the resignation, you ideally have a list in your mind on what to consider carefully and how to handle certain expected side effects. Actually, it is good fun to compare reality with certain items of that list, once you are ready to face the truth.
First of all, what evaporates immediately after the decision, is careerism. What you expected the least. You prepared so long, strengthened your heart to face that you would no more be a high-level person with a fancy business card, whose steps are followed by lots of service providers, lenders, business partners and competitors. Huh… this is surely an upside.
The thing that kicks in, despite of your expectations, is the fear to lose your skills and capabilities. Well. A little bit more difficult. You thought once you would have enough time, you can read, practise, exercise whatever you want. Thus, you can stay mentally fresh and challenged enough. Hm. Enough. How much is that, exactly? Hard to admit, but once you were exposed to an extremely competitive environment, it has become your instinct. To compete. And to win, of course.
Decision is made. You seek some challenges for yourself, to keep you in shape, mentally. Income would also be nice, though it has shifted to the second (or third?) place in the rank. The most obvious way to start is to look around on the employment market. More easily, to answer the recruiters who approached you and take your chance.
Life strategy recast
1 pc of bad experience with a well reputed head-hunter, whose proposal somehow got back to your boss, recently
1 pc of experience with service providers asking for money to provide you with information that is free and unlimitedly available
1 pc of comment (at least) per day from your environment with the purpose of making you hesitant about your existence
1 pc of a charming job proposal that you would accept if the CEO would not propose you in parallel
1 pc of comment on your mental sanity when you announce not to move back to your original home country
a portion of humiliating comments on you having no job and no husband to finance your daily life
a large portion of comments on being that-type-of-foreigner who is up to live on the Swiss social system (though you had no intention to do so)
a large portion of discrimination against your gender and origin
a portion of fear about yourself making the right decision
slightly amended as per your own taste.
Put all the ingredients together and stir it. It shall not be perfectly smooth, the result is guaranteed however it looks like. The emphasis shall be on the taste and the experience. Try to socialise and be reminded by someone regularly, that though you have time, others might not, since they have an important job. That you do not have.
Open a recruitment page you decided to sign up, and see the letters, ads, proposals received from the respective HR personnel… To have more fun, do that without alcohol. Ok, at least the first few… The more you can stand without freaking out, the better result you can achieve.
You are almost done.
Be positive and try to imagine each job ad as a case study. You might figure out now, why is it important to have at least one MBA, PhD, and a list of specifications to perform a back-office management job, which is usually performed by some talented people with secondary level education. Such as that why are you expected to be an innovative person with strategic thinking and being good at dealing with monotony in parallel… Anyway, you can see, at least, that you have a lot to learn…
The last interview before….
Finally, you find some offers which seem worth considering and you follow the instructions of the respective recruitment agencies. Send your CV. Not that one, another one… er… with that other layout …. please… And a motivation letter. Not on paper, but as an attachment of that god-knows-which subpage. Once completed, you wait.
Most of the cases nothing happens, not even the agents dare to inform you, though they had time to send several letters to you beforehand. Anyway, since there are some relatively good catches, you are relaxed. Wait for the interviews to be arranged. In order to enjoy more, there is a small vocabulary for you, to surely touch ground: “we need dynamic people” – means, you are considered to be old; “I need a reliable person for at least 2-3 years” – means that you are too smart and might be promoted, which is a bad news; “we are working on a difficult market with very special cultural background” – means that they want a male; “local experience might be a huge advantage” – means that they are considering only Swiss people; etc.
Nevertheless, you get into one place, and you are approached to go for the second interview. You feel happy, as it gives the impression that you are shortlisted. You take the train again, wait for an hour, again, this time until the high-level people arrive. You repeat what you have told the last time, and think for a moment that you might be the one. Then someone enters the room, all others become quiet, and this one raises the question: “did not we expect a man, please?…”
You feel that you slowly get pissed, but do not lose your patience immediately. You repeat your name, which is almost the same, and surely a female one in all the languages that you are familiar with. The man starts a speech, the tone is pretty arrogant, the content is – at least – questionable. You ask for the word and tell your opinion in a neutral tone. You are there because you are expected to have an opinion, a professional one, are not you? As you are regularly interrupted, and have to come back to your thoughts, after a while you feel, that this is not for you. You might have been too passionate in that debate, which means that you still like your profession….You reach a full stop, thank everyone for the opportunity, pack your things, drink your water and simply leave…. no matter what they think…
The man from the recruitment agency is running after you, blushes, apologises and asks you not to take any legal actions, if possible, as the man did not mean, and that they are to refund your expenses, bla-bla-bla… You are not open for any discussions at that very moment. Only want to leave. As quickly as possible….
The tipping point
Having a relatively long ride for home, you have time to think. Cool down and – for some reason – become extremely rational. Good sign. You make a short summary in yourself: you are too old, too, smart, too female and too foreigner for any job that would be interesting for you. Does not sound ‘too’ good… One question is popping up: are you determined enough to go for some lower level jobs with a boss with an average mental capacity, but surely below yours, with an arrogant style and thus a not so encouraging working environment?…. Well… Again this ‘well’….. Honestly: no. More accurately: NO. NOT AT ALL.
You come to the conclusion that you are confident thanks to the 20+ years, rational, committed, professional and feel like you have some value to add. So, you might consider yourself as a good investment. Hm. Interesting…
You think it over, over and over, and a slightly different question emerges in your head, after a while: why do not you invest into yourself then? Good question. Worth considering….
…. Yes…. there is nothing more you can do then to go forward…. only forward….
* * *
Invest into yourself. Interesting thought. Why does it seem much harder than to invest into anything or anyone else? Do you know yourself better or worse? Which would be good news and which bad news? Anyway, whichever is the case, it is worth taking a chance on it. But how to start?
Ok. Be rational. You were doing it almost in your whole life, so there is nothing else to do than to do what you usually do. Think…. This time not about thinking, but doing….
Dreaming about dreaming
You start to wake up with the thought to become independent and to live according to your dreams. Not bad, is it? On paper, it surely is. Live according to your dreams. Can you remember at least what your dreams are? Hm….
You probably got much more used to live according to someone else’s dreams… Of course, you do not label like that, but as loyalty. Loyalty to your family, your friends, your other half, your colleagues and everyone you think would need you, even those who do not particularly deserve it. You were grown up to be loyal and reliable, so you are. Why is it then so hard to remember what your dreams are??? Well…
You remember one moment when the eldest son of one of your friends asked about your dreams at the age of 16. He was 16 that time. You were laughing inside before articulating it. It was, actually, to have an AUDI and enough money to fuel it to go wherever you want (that time Trabants, Ladas and such brands were commonly achievable, and cars like Mercedes, AUDI or BMW were only available on pictures at the airport lounges, and only for those who could ever enter into an airport lounge…). Still smiling…. standing by one of your AUDIs, apparently having enough money to fuel and go wherever you want… The surprising thing is that since then you do not remember having any such dream… Ok. Try harder…. But no. You cannot remember any….
Life strategy recast reloaded (again and again and again….)
You feel down. Why is it so hard? Why did you lose yourself like never before? What is the problem with you???
You wake up again one day and make up your mind: will do things that you have not done so far. Socialise with people who might have similar problems or looking for solutions similarly to you. You go to social events and try to feel good. OMG…. that is so hard…. feel like being an outsider everywhere…. It goes on and on and on like this, until….
You meet some people who are to leave their current job and go independent with a clear picture on their business opportunities. They are enthusiastic, full of optimism, working hard and have a positive vibe. That you do not have. So you become sure that the problem is with you….
Usually, here or somewhere should come the ingredients, but this time, you feel you have run out of sources and inputs. Well, make an inventory then: what do you have and what do you have to acquire.
20+ years of experience in your profession that you love
an IQ higher than 130 points,
an inspiring nature and character, strong principles such as loyalty and commitment
huge number of connections, some close to a friend-like respect, in 12 countries
location in a AAA rated country (the not-so-welcoming-one)
relatively good language skills
some real-estate here and there
2 cars in 2 countries
some bad decisions the consequences of which are still with you
experience in competitive environments and working under pressure
good friends who you can rely on under any circumstances, and who might keep your feet on the ground such as help you dreaming
Things to acquire:
self confidence to make a step forward
additional portion of sense of humor (…ok, let it be 2 portions, you might need it…)
dreams to follow to keep you on the track when the dark days are coming
less emotions when it comes to being rational
additional language skills
confidence to close toxic relationships and leave those in your environment behind who drain your energy
confidence to enter into new relationships with new people
patience and tolerance to deal with arrogance, bad will, aggression, idiotism, etc.
rock solid rationale
more trust in your intuitions
some new high-heeled shoes
red nail polish
a different hairdo
Does not look bad, does it? Not much to complain about. You are not in the worst situation in the world. So, there is nothing else to do than to use what you have and leverage on that.
Three, two, one … action
You check into a start-up support page, make a step-plan and a timetable, put together the necessary financials, start to think about the first years’ business plan, make a list of the necessary service providers, find a company name, open the capital account, etc. Yes. This is it. No one can stop you…er…hopefully. Do not forget that you are a foreign female in the not-so-welcoming country.
After 4 weeks of paper-filling, frustrating phone calls, low-profile arguments and becoming ca. 1200 francs lighter, you receive the letter form the trade registry…. It is done. You cannot even perceive. IT IS DONE… YOU ARE AN ENTREPRENEUR. On paper….
So there is nothing else to do, than to become an entrepreneur in reality…..
* * *
So, here you are. You have become an entrepreneur on paper, and you can start fulfilling a dream to create something operating and valuable. To show to the world. Or at least to your prospective clients. You are full of ambiguity, fears and hesitation. It is said to be natural. Hopefully it is. That something keeps you on the track. Excitement, curiosity and faith. Hopefully not the blind one….
But wait. You need several things to make the company operating before entering into the phase of fulfilling your dreams. Cannot be an issue after this long journey…. Or….. Hm.
Magic of technicalities
Having several years behind you as a treasurer and corporate finance expert, you are sure that you can get through the technicalities quickly, so you concentrate efforts to your business vision, strategy and the first year’s business plan. You find an IT service provider, send out request for proposal for accountancy and tax expertise, such as legal. In parallel, you apply for some bank account openings and business bank cards.
In the meantime, you get your first some engagement proposals, so you feel in heaven. It might work out. So you jump into the middle and start to work, in parallel to the so-called technicalities.
You are told that the opening of the bank account takes 3-4 weeks. Well. You think you heard something wrong. You ask back: “ did you mean minutes?” No. He did not mean. He means weeks. You got pissed, go home with the ca 60 pages to fill. At least you have some entertainment….
The fun begins…..
You think first that your mindset is wrong, so try to adjust. Be curious, ask questions and try to understand the world around you. Ok. You could open the capital account without going to the bank, through a video chat. Apologies. Actually, through – at least – 6 chats, as it shut down regularly and you had to start over and over again. But, finally, you got through. You try to forget, that you had to drive to Bern, meaning 260 kms back and forth to grab the one-pager of the confirmation of the opened capital account to post it (on paper) to the notary as a part of the foundation documents. Nothing is perfect.
Now, you are sitting with the 60 pages, where one question, “the purpose of the company” is repeated – at least – 3 times, such as the number of employees and the yearly turnover. Not to mention more. Well. Stay calm, make comments and copy something from the business plan. Almost 3 and a half hours, and it is done. Time flies so quickly….. You post the paper package and wait. Wait, wait, wait…..
Nothing happens for 2 weeks, when you receive a huge package with the account opening documents, this time in German. You are close to freaking out but stay calm. There has to be an explanation. So you look for it. Several mails and unsuccessful calls later, you receive an apology and a note that there must be some more weeks to complete the process. Now you freak out. Like never before in your life…. You call everyone you know in the bank, asking for an account manager, another one, who is capable of handling an account opening. But no success. You have to have that particular branch in Bern, with that particular account manager. Who is silent. You draft a complaint, send it, strictly on paper and via post. You receive an email that they will process as soon as possible. You guess it might be another month….
… and girls wanna have more fun….
Four weeks spent, in the meantime you contracted the accountant, registered in every database where you had to, signed off on all the insurances. But you cannot pay anything, since you have no bank account….
You find a new entertainment: answering those mails form the authorities, in which they remind you to register your bank account. That you apparently do not have. Of course, only paper-based mailing is accepted. So you draft the letters, print them, put them to the envelope one by one, and post them. 1 franc each. Welcome to the digital age….
In the sixth week, you approach the account manager, and surprisingly you receive an automated mail that he is no longer available. What? Shortly after a new account manager mails, introduces herself, and offers her help. You repeat everything and ask about the status of your account opening. The answer is: “it has already been opened”. You feel that you are close to freaking out again (it crosses your mind that it feels like an anger management course, where you are tested in different situations…), but instead of that you ask: “how do clients usually take notice of that, please?” She says: “they receive a letter”. Good. “May I receive a letter then, please?”, you ask. “Sure”, she says. And you receive a mail with the account numbers and other details shortly after. Then you slowly approach the fridge and open a bottle of wine….
Morning comes, you wake up, you are happy, which is understandable, since you have an opened bank account in less than 2 months. Who can ask for more? Well…. actually…. you. For example, for access to that bank account, as – apparently – having the account numbers, swift number, whatsoever, does not make it possible for you to do anything. Back in front of the computer, mail to the account manager. You also realise, that you have not received the bank cards, either. So you put that into the mail, too. Answer comes in a day: they apologise, and assure you that the e-banking access kit will be with you in a day. Good. But unfortunately, the bank card applications have not been sent…. Not good. You feel that you will freak out, again. You answer that, yes, they have been. Here is where having a long track record as a finance guy kicks in…. As you expected this answer, you have a form signed by one of the employees of one of the branches, that he received it and sent for processing. You attach it. Is there any more wine left in that bottle? …..
Several threatening mails and calls later, the bank cards arrive, too. Done. Two cards in two separate envelopes with a cover letter, two PINs, two general terms and conditions, and some marketing stuff, in copies, of course. Altogether 12 pieces of papers. You have everything. More accurately: YOU HAVE EVERYTHING in place. And it was less than 4 months…. You have all your reasons to be happy now. Really.
The new chapter. The very newest.
1 pc of an accountant and tax advisor, all female, as no male-lead companies answered your request for proposal
1 pc of bank account open, registered capital amount transferred to it, minus a horrible amount for the administration
2 pcs of bankcards, on one of which your name is spelt correctly
1 pc of printer that you received from your former colleague, who also offered her help selflessly
1 pc of a laptop
1 pc of an IT service provider, own domain and emails installed
one large portion of bad will from people who are jealous and think you cannot make it
one portion of patronising comments on how to manage a company that you most probably have no idea about
several comments on your incapability to finance yourself this way
a large portion of advice on what corporate functions to build up immediately, from people who have no job currently and would like to have one
several pieces of fake queries, phishing mails and – at least suspicious – approaches to pay for things that you do not need
several salesmen jumping on you to solve those problems of yours that you have not yet even recognised
several bottles of wine for any case
some sedative drugs in case you have to talk to a bank employee again
some sarcasm, irony, cynicism, and humour
slightly amended as per your own taste.
Put together all the ingredients, one by one, and stir in between. Be careful not to leave out anything. Cool it down. Consume in small portions throughout the day to have the best experience. Try to accommodate all the papers you have accumulated so far and try to imagine how it would look like in a year. Give up on your idea about having a nice living room and eating at the dining table. Apologise regularly for your apartment looking like a commercial building after a serious bomb-attack. Buy another coffee machine and hide it somewhere, where your colleagues have no access to it. Also hide all those items in your kitchen that are more expensive than 100 francs or want to enjoy them longer than a week. Pay your energy bills quickly and try not to remember the amount transferred, to keep your mental sanity.
You are almost done….
Subscribe for an IKEA family card, a Migros card and a Coop card, to try to leverage on the unexpected amounts spent on office equipment. Start attending yoga classes to be able to keep your patience when your French colleagues/clients are around. Signing in to a French course is an option, in case you would like to talk to them on the phone, and not only via email. Do not try to lose weight or reduce your coffee consumption at least for a year. It will be a waste of time. You will not succeed. Regularly listen to your competitors, check the price proposals you received for webdesign, marketing, legal services, etc., then save some time from your sleeping periods and do that all yourself.
It is still the beginning of a journey. That particular journey. You know that well inside. You have all your reasons to be full of fear, ambiguity and hesitation. Is this scary? Yes. Are you really afraid? Yes. Is it worth? Yes. More accurately: YES. Worth every sleepless night, every glass of wine, every hour and piece of energy you are investing. You feel deep inside. You got so many signs that you are on the right track…
So, your ‘high risk – low reward’ environment has just been established, and there is an underlying happiness in you. You would not expect ever… but it is here…. and you go to sleep and wake up smiling. Every single day…. since you are a passenger and you ride and ride…