During a 13-year career, it can’t all be smooth sailing. That would be just incredible, unrealistic and probably unheard of. Likewise, my banking career had a lot of ups and downs. There were the highs of big wins, of deal completions and promotions… there were many, many of these that I can look back on. But then, there were a lot of lows out there as well…
Some of them were professional – deal losses, loss of team members, missed promotions and so on. You sort of take these in your stride, learn from them and move on, hoping not to keep repeating them.
Then there were the personal lows – the missed time with family. Angry and pissed off family members for missing key events, rescheduling dinners and meals, not being able to say good bye to the kids before bed… and so on. The long trips away from home many a times added to this stress and low.
My hardest time though was more personal than that. It was the middle of 2016 and we had just had our first child. Work was in full swing and I was expected to deliver big numbers to be able to make it up to the next level. My wife was struggling to adapt, there was a lack of sleep and rest… I was trying to balance it all. Add to that, I had a very unsupportive and difficult manager to work with (read my last post about bankers and managers) and it all made it very difficult.
It was a downward spiral from then on. I started questioning my own worth, my credentials and abilities – could I deliver? Would I be able to go through it all? What if I failed? Doubts had started creeping in, making work even more difficult than it already was. There was no one to talk to at work… and I didn’t want the stigma of mental weakness attached to me here – what if it held up my promotion? What if they thought I wasn’t good enough… and so, I ploughed on…
Until it got too much and I had to seek professional help. Diagnosed with stress, anxiety and a mild case of depression, I worked through my issues for the rest of 2016, returning to full health later that year, to be a good banker, but more importantly to be sound and stable for my wife and son.
If you are struggling with any such issues or work related stress, my advice is – talk to someone… don’t wait. Get help and get better before it is too late. Work comes and goes, but your health and mind is most important. As I look back on that time, I never want to go through it again and so I tell myself today, ‘nothing is really worth THAT sacrifice.’