Up until 2009 I had never heard of the term highly sensitive. I had heard of the term introvert and shy though. I also knew that I hated my job even though I had headed down that career path voluntary and enthusiastically. I naively thought in the world of Human Resources I’d be helping people, helping people get the best out of their people.
At the end of 2006 I took maternity leave. I never went back. Circumstances conspired to help me leave my job on a positive footing and become a full time stay at home mother.
By the beginning of 2008 I had set up my own writing company. I had switched careers. I had followed my passion and made it my career. I have not looked back.
And then during the course of 2009 I became aware of the term ‘highly sensitive’. And things clicked into place about why I had felt so despairing of how I earned my living before I became a writer.
I suddenly understood my deep hatred of open plan offices; the constant noise and the regular interruptions from colleagues going about their own business around me broke my concentration. I need quiet to think. I need quiet to recharge.
I understood why the regular reorganisations that took place unsettled me so much. I was constantly planning change, actioning change, living through change and helping other employees accept change. I dislike change, constant change at least.
I understood why I had loved focussing on the projects that required deep thinking, that needed me to think about the consequences, the details, the how tos, the policies. I like the bigger picture.
I understand why I loved those days that were few and far between when I was able to work from home and why flexible schedules worked so much better for me. I like working independently; I like the peace and solitude.
I understood why I hated the constant telephone calls and group video conferences. I dislike small talk and chatter. I dislike interruptions and the telephone and I have a love/hate relationship, mostly hate.
I hated the political games hidden behind management actions. I could see the truth behind the lies and it unsettled me.
I understood that I hated being an employee number in a multinational organisation, where nameless faces pass each other in the corridor. Working in a crowd of strangers could never put me at ease.
Some people are at their best working in a bustling, noisy office. I’m not one of them. I get my ideas and inspiration with calm and peace around me.
I’m happy my career fell into place. I’m happy that I realised that some working environments will never get the best out of me. I’m happy I’ve learnt how to make sure my career gets the best out of me.
I’m happy that I learnt I’m highly sensitive. I’m happy that I got to know myself better. Knowing yourself is the best thing that can happen to your career.