Lizzie Renkert: How it felt to lose my job and build a new career | Women's Agenda

Lizzie Renkert: How it felt to lose my job and build a new career

Losing my job earlier this year was devastating for me. I truly loved my role as a magazine editor and had worked very hard over a number of years to sit in the editor’s chair. So when it came to an end, I went through a mourning process that I’m sure anyone who has been through a similar experience could relate to.

It’s been nearly six months now and I still have days where I feel that sense of loss, but they’re becoming less frequent and I have been humbled by the amazing opportunities that have come my way since.

In those early days, I honestly didn’t know what I would do without my job as I had given so much of myself to it. I know this seems a bit ridiculous, as I certainly have a very fulfilling life outside work, but when you are as passionate and dedicated as I had been, I really did feel lost.

In an ideal world, I would have taken a few months off to work out exactly what my next career move should or could be. But I wasn’t in a positive enough headspace to drift aimlessly, waiting for things to come to me. I’ve always loved the idea of taking a sabbatical but when I’m in a good place, emotionally, not a fraught one. The thought of taking time out when I was at my most vulnerable actually made me more anxious, so I started making lists of things about my job I had most enjoyed and the people I had loved working and collaborating with.

I figured if I could clearly identify what had made me happy and fulfilled at work, maybe I would be able to combine all of the best bits and do it for myself. I also made a list of skills that I needed to improve on – my industry has changed exponentially over the past five years, so there’s a lot of room for growth.

I’m now working for myself, which is something I had never even begun to contemplate when I was a fulltime employee. It certainly has its challenges; I’m very much a ‘people person’ so I miss being part of and leading a team. But there are definite advantages to running my own race and there is far less frustration day-to-day, which is a welcome relief after a very stressful few years.

I’m taking a leap into the world of digital as one of the editors on a new lifestyle site launching next month called thecarousel.com. I’m also working with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation on their 2014 White Shirt Campaign, in which I take immense pride. Add to that weekly appearances on channel 9’s Mornings and the new online fashion label my sister and I have just started, Kindred, I am busier than ever before, just not as stressed.

I haven’t consciously viewed the plans I’ve made over the past six months as particularly long-term, which is quite unusual for me as I always had a clear career plan. I’m certainly not ruling out working fulltime again in another “big job”, but this redundancy has forced me to be more spontaneous and take on new and exciting challenges, which can only be a good thing.

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