*First published here on Medium, 5th October 2019*
Anybody that knows my partner will know, he likes to play it safe. Safe with money and the reliance on a steady income at least. I’m a bit more of a risk taker and see money as quite fluid in the way it crosses in and out of our bank accounts and the opportunities that present themselves in mysterious ways to keep making it too. Interestingly, we were both raised in homes that experienced times of financial hardship, but our relationship with money is very different.
My parents experienced the loss of a house when they were not able to keep up repayments on a mortgage before I was born. My partner has a father with bi- polar disorder and the lack of support to address it consistently and sufficiently meant there was a constant flux of income and expenditure in his home as he grew up. So, for my other half, when whispers of redundancy at his beloved job started to circle at break time, he evaluated his situation and brought the discussion home- as we do with everything. He had not been in the job two years yet, so worried that last in, might, mean first out. We had a baby on the horizon and waiting to find out if his hard work and dedication to do his job well, were enough for him to be kept, we felt might not be the best move. He had already done the maths and there was nothing to be gained from waiting for a redundancy package.
In hindsight, it probably was a premature jump, but he landed in another job fairly quickly. A step up in responsibility and close to home; something we both felt would be a priority with a baby to soon take care of. The long and short of it- the job didn’t suit his need for stimulation or the challenge he craved. He was left in limbo looking for something else in an ever reducing window of time!
Still contacted weekly by recruiters and desperate to find “the right fit” before the babies arrival; he agreed to a companies invitation to interview. He acted like something had set a fire beneath him and he was becoming restless in his job. About two weeks before baby boy was born, my partner went for an interview (a fairly routine occurence over the previous few months). An organisation that were ahead of the curve with Metrology - the science of measurement?(I know - geeky right?) and more importantly, something that excited him.
The job sounded great, their projects were world class. Perks all good, but they were based 200 miles away! The job required travel up and down the country. Something I absolutely was not going to support, awaiting the birth of my first child. He was full of buzz and a renewed sense of purpose; knowing that he could still find something that excited and stretched him at work, even if the time wasn’t now. They implored him to reach out again if circumstances changed and there had also been brief discussion about an upcoming project in Barcelona; “it’s looking like two years initially” my partner said. “Great”. I replied, “exciting idea, but not for now”.
Fast — forward past the trauma of my labour. The depression, the newness and the hazy first few weeks. I was at home, feeling sorry for myself, managing all the emotions of the new mum spectrum. Trying to juggle eating regularly to breast feed, being on my own all day with this thing whose cries made me cringe with anxiety and a recovering abdomen from my section. Tom had gone to work that morning, but by 11am I heard his heavy diesel engine park up outside and gulped as I contemplated the better of two bads.
He’s either lost his temper at the skill-less management team, he had not gotten on with since working at the job close to home, or they had asked him to leave. It turned out to be the latter. The first time in his career. Let go. With a baby only a few weeks old. Remember a little earlier, I mentioned my partner’s passion for stability and reliable income? Yep. He went totally panic stations.
I have to commend him and show gratitude because, I thought I was a go- getter. He was making calls and sending emails all morning, so by 3pm the same day; it was no surprise he had an interview lined up at another local company. The leading Metrology company with the project potentially happening abroad had also confirmed that they would like for him to come and see them again. They had indicated it would be some informal training and a Skype meeting with the team based in Spain. So a week later, we all travel the 200 miles to Leicester the night before his Skype meeting. Anxieties were running high, I knew he wanted it. But I had to question if it was practical. We had only just had a baby. Was it the right time? The other thoughts, all circling in my head. “He’s so new. I’m still struggling with Motherhood.
Its a great opportunity...What doors would it open?”
After a very restless nights sleep. Me and baby dropped Daddy off, wishing him luck. And I felt the anticipation of the unknown creep in. When I picked Tom up later that afternoon, he looked defeated and deflated. “I had a complete brain fart on one of the questions. Absolutely nothing came out” he said. He explained that he had answered two out of three questions confidently but the one that stuck out, was of course the one he had choked on. He also worried that his strong Northern accent was difficult to understand across the informality of Skype. The team of non - English professor’s whose textbook English was much more proficient than Thomas’ left him feeling below par. I told him not to worry, all we could do was wait and see.
It was an agonising couple of weeks. Emails and phone calls waiting for Spain to respond to the UK about the outcome. The normal questions of practicalities of moving furniture, Brexit and the timescale of our move if he got the job, thrown in from family was only adding to the insurmountable angst and waiting time. Somewhere towards the end of the two weeks Thomas received a call. The anticipation was over and the next few seconds felt like slow motion. He had been offered the job. They wanted him to represent the UK with a time-frame to get him over to Barcelona looking sooner rather than later.
Have you ever had an out of body experience where you’re there, but not present?
The reality of the decision we were now going to make I don’t think either of us could comprehend. Thomas looked at me and said, “so are we going for it then?”, “are we moving to Barcelona?”… “get that sun on your face, and get you feeling better”. “I guess we are”, We’re already on the roller coaster of life and new beginnings, I thought . Now is as good a time as any to take a leap of faith.