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Feeling Incomplete After Completion

Sitting back to rest after a job well done just makes me think where I should be going next...

sunny 20 °C

The last two weeks have been madness for me, and Friday was the first evening when I could finally wind down. The week previous I had been juggling working 12 hours a day on a document that I needed to get done by Friday while also trying to get myself completely packed for a move on Sunday. Saturday and Sunday were spent packing, moving and cleaning. I lugged boxes down 3 flights of stairs at my old flat, and up a flight and a half of stairs at my new flat. Monday, I woke up aching at four in the morning for my quick-hit business trip to Switzerland, and really didn’t let up with work until Wednesday evening. Thursday and Friday during the day I worked, and Thursday night I spent my time unpacking and trying to get all the companies I have accounts with to update their address records for me.

Finally Friday at 6 PM I arrived home with a blank in my calendar. I sat down on my couch, cracked open a can of lager and turned on the World Cup. After two weeks of working late every night while trying to balance a house move at the same time, I should have been ecstatic to be able to sit back, relax and do nothing.

I wasn’t though. I felt all off-kilter.


I knew the feeling. I had felt it before. I call it the post-project blues.

Despite my calling the feeling the “blues,” it’s not so much a sadness as it is a general malaise, an uneasiness, a sense of not knowing what to do next. It is a cross between an emptiness and a feeling of being lost.

I have experienced the feeling before when I have finished a large client project. Most of my work is project based, with a set of items that need to be completed by a certain time. Once those items are complete, I can move on – hopefully leaving the client with something valuable that they can carry forward.

I always feel satisfied completing a project, knowing that I delivered something under the pressure of timelines and budgets. However, at the same time I know that suddenly I am without something that was a major part of my life for months.

The feeling I’ve had the past few days is that same feeling. Since January, when I found out that I was losing my job and having to find a new place to live, I’ve had a dual set of goals to work towards – find a new job and find a new place to live. It was an intense period, from January until May. I was interviewing with multiple companies, and then spending nights pouring over real estate websites to find a place to live. It all came together within a few weeks. I found both a new job and a new place to live. I started my new job at the end of May, and am now settling in. And, as I suggested above, I moved out of my old flat and into a new flat at the start of June.

Friday night I sat back and realised that my nights were now again free to schedule what I want. No more surfing websites for 2 bedroom flats. No more pouring over Monster.co.uk and Top-Consultant.com job entries. No more packing. No more brushing up the CV. The job was sorted. I have a year long lease at a new place.

I realized I had been running a project – not for a client this time, but rather just for myself – to find a new job and a new home. Now the project was over. I had delivered what the project was set out to do. The project was a success, and I was happy with that. But I also had those post-project blues.

Each project is like a journey. You start out at the beginning setting a destination. Then you figure out a route to get there. Then you follow along your route, and if you are lucky you don’t find too many closed roads or washed out bridges. If things go well, you arrive on time. You are at your destination.

You look around, and realize that while you are happy to be at your destination, you wonder where to go next.

So now it is time for me to pick a new journey to undertake. For the sake of my bank account, I hope it isn’t finding a new job. And for the sake of my aching muscles, I hope it doesn’t involve moving any more boxes.

Posted by GregW 16:00 Archived in England Tagged business_travel

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