On taking the leap, and self-worth – Mahj

It’s no secret that we love Mahj.  From one of the best wedding reports any of us have ever read (that made all three of us emerge from her world with mascara-streaked faces), to her loyalty and integrity and kick-ass personality, she’s ace.

When Mahj sent me this piece, I responded saying I had goosebumps, and felt like I could do anything.  Now THAT’s how a post should make you feel.  

Happy Wednesday, readers.  I give you Mahj:    

2011 was a big year for a few reasons. Firstly and foremost I became wedded to a wonderful man. And secondly I picked myself up, dusted myself off and got myself a new job.

But perhaps I should back track a bit? Y’see, I’m a qualified Conveyancer but when the Big Rubbish Property Crash of 2008 happened, I found myself made redundant from a job I loved and that I had always presumed I would have until I was ready to move on. And man did I feel like shite. I couldn’t understand how this had happened to me, other friends in the same profession were fine (some wouldn’t remain this way though). I felt like I was being singled out. 

Obviously with retrospect I can see now that this wasn’t the case, that it is common for people who have been made redundant to blame themselves for their situation. But at the time you definitely don’t have that foresight!

And so the job hunt began and good God it was awful. There were zilcho Conveyancing jobs on the market, so I began to apply for non-Conveyancing ones as I didn’t have any choice. I did eventually strike it lucky and managed to get an interview for a position as an Assistant in a Marketing and Communications department, which let’s face it, is about as opposite from my chosen career as I could get.

As luck would have it I got the job, which at the time was more a feeling of relief that the bills could be paid. Rather than dwell on the fact that it wasn’t a job of my choosing, I decided to get stuck in and learn everything I could about this new profession. And it was interesting and fun. It wasn’t Conveyancing but I was working and working with a group of people who I really liked and also, perhaps most importantly, my department was so supportive. You see, the week after I’d got the job was when Martin was attacked and put in the hospital for 4 months. They let me start 4 weeks later than I should have. They let me leave early or start later when I needed to get to the hospital. They were just so flippin nice and I am, above all else, loyal. Especially if you have showed me such kindness.

I think a part of me knew that I couldn’t stay there forever, that I was qualified to do something else that I had worked really hard for, for 3 ½ years. But I ignored that. I ignored the fact that I was capable of so much more than they were giving me, that I could do so much more for them, that I was, to put it quite bluntly, bored. And by the beginning of 2011 I knew that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. With the wedding upcoming I knew that after it was all over, work would become my full focus again and I couldn’t afford to ignore my unhappiness with my job any longer. I had to remind myself over and over that I was qualified, that I could do it and that being made redundant wasn’t my fault.

So a couple of weeks after we returned from our honeymoon I started. I had to do some refresher courses to bring my knowledge up to date, which I did at home after being sent the material and I started applying for jobs at the same time. After a couple of months a job came up for a national builders in-house team and I went for it. My CV was all up to date and full of exciting, jobby words like “enthusiastic” “organised” and “hard-working”. And hooray me, because I got an interview!

I literally couldn’t believe it. I thought it would take ages to find a job or even pluck up the courage to apply for one and there I was, end of October, prepping for my interview. I never like to think if I’ve done well or badly in interviews, even though I obsess terribly after them. But in this instance, I honestly thought I’d done ok. I’d tried my best. That maybe the only thing going against me was that I’d been out of Conveyancing for the past 3 years.

As it turns out they didn’t mind that so much as they offered me the job! I found out whilst in my old work and immediately set about doing some kind of celebratory jig in the women’s toilets. God I was so happy and proud. I was proud of myself. For taking the leap and believing that I could do it.

As for the new job? I L-O-V-E it! I’m back doing what I enjoy, I’m busy all day and work with some really lovely people. I have responsibility and am treated as such. People want to hear my opinion, what I think about something. It’s only a 12-month contract but I’m really hoping it becomes something more permanent. But if it doesn’t that’s ok, because I still went for it.

So what did I learn? Being made redundant is crap and it will more than likely make you feel low and in my case, a bit worthless. But you aren’t worthless. You had some bad luck but you are still good at your job and you have to remember that. I stayed in my last job for probably a year longer than I should’ve done for many reasons, planning and paying for a wedding for example, loyalty another. And whilst these may feel noble and right at the time, they probably aren’t the best reasons. A part of me wishes that I had kicked my arse into gear long ago, but then would I have this brilliant job now?

If you’re reading this and are in a similar situation to what I was in, DO IT! Take the leap. Jump. Insert move motivational words here! Similarly to what Aisling wrote a couple of weeks ago, starting this new job really was a eye-opener! I practically spring out of bed, I sing (badly) in the car on the way to work, my work is a challenge. I feel good about myself. I’m cheery all the time!

And perhaps one of the biggest things I learned from all this, is that when your own husband believes in you and tells you can do this and it will work, he’s usually right. And then it’s time to start believing it yourself.

Mahj xoxo

Categories: Life Experience, Money and Career
15 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Anonymous
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 7:22 am | Permalink


    This is awesome and am so so happy for you that you believed in yourself and it worked out :) Beautifully written as ever.

    I am a regular commentator (I mean comment leaver!) but for obvious reasons have gone 'anon'. I am currently weighing up staying in my relatively stable, ok paid job, and taking the leap before I become any more senior/even more reliant on the amount of money I earn and follow my heart.

    I think the timing of this post is showing me what to do.

    Thanks, Mahj xx

  2. Posted January 18, 2012 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    YES Mahj! This is such a wonderful, positive post to come out of such a difficult time. With that sort of attitude it's no wonder they hired you my dear!

    Having been in the same situation myself (made redundant from a job I loved, and there being no more of those jobs left in the world) I can understand how difficult it is to adapt and keep a smile on your face throughout, to have been torn down at the top of your game and have to start at the bottom somewhere new. Bravo for getting stuck back into it! That success will now taste all the sweeter for the hard work you had to do to get there – nobody else can take credit for that, it's all yours.


  3. Posted January 18, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Mahj I just love you, what a brilliant post to read on a rubbish rainy Wednesday!

    This is the kind of inspiration we all need to remember, it's always worth taking the chance.

    K x

  4. amy f
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    This made me want to yell 'you go girl' while whooping and doing that spinny arm thing!
    Incidentally, did I miss mahj's wedding part the second?

  5. Fee
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Mahj, this is super well timed for me!

    As of the start of Feb, I will be unemployed having handed my notice in at my good, well paid job to attempt to start from scratch at something I love, having no idea if it will work out. I may be back in a similar job to the one I am in now in six months, but I think I have to try.

    This is keeping me awake at the moment so I am big time grateful for this chunk of inspiration!

  6. Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    LOVE this. Thanks for sharing such an awesomely motivational story Majh :)

    Reading this reminded me that I love my job, which is a nice reminder to have on a driech Wednesday with a to-do list as long as my arm… xx

  7. Esme
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Yey, well done Mahj. Really wonderful.

    Also, how GOOD does it feel when you get offered a job after you've been looking for ages? I just couldn't stop smiling.


  8. L
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Amazing timing Mahj, I just found out yesterday that I have an interview next week for a job I really really want. It's only maternity cover but my current job is not where I want to be long term and this would bring me closer to what I (think!) want to do. Scared but excited!
    Glad you're enjoying yours so much. I wish I was like you instead of dreading every morning.

  9. Posted January 18, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Yay Mahj! I am so happy you have got back to doing the job you were craving! Such a lovely story!

    I think it must be pretty awful to find yourself in the position of being made redundant but at least you picked yourself up and got on with it! A lot of people (I mean me by this) would probably quite easily mope about and make it into a bit of a drama and take ages to get over it! Bravo for moving on and getting a job, any job, until you got the right one again!

    It's lovely to read your writing again and loved your wedding report.

    Hope your loving married life!

  10. Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Yay! So glad you're loving this. I felt all goosebumpy with possibility after this!

    Amy F – no you didn't miss it…this is out not-so-subtle way of getting Mahj to write us another piece on her wedding (cough cough)

  11. mahj
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    AOW-ers, well aren't you a fine lot! Thank you all so very much for your comments. Its means a lot. I've only ever written about my wedding, both pre and post, so was a bit nervous about this.
    Anon – please please do it. You'll be fine. Trust.
    Fee – wowee lady, get you! Im so glad that your jumping. And like you said, you never know until you try.
    Esme – feels amazing!
    L – yippee! Your in the same position as me, mine's only mat cover but fingers crossed. Good luck!

    Right, best do some work in my lovely job!


  12. Posted January 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Mahj this is such a great post! I love it!

    After my contract being terminated I didn't have a clue what to do and just so insecure, my confidence and self belief was at rock bottom, and I felt like I had let everyone down.

    But after a while I realised what an opportunity it was. Instead of doing a job that I despised and that made me into a crazy nut job I now could do something that I wanted, that I had never thought was possible before.

    And now I am doing something I love, it doesn't really bring in much money but I am so happy and inspired that I know without a shadow of a doubt it was the right decision for me.

    Weird how things tend to work out :)

  13. Anonymous
    Posted January 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I worked in the property industry. I initially loved my job, was very motivated and prepared to work all the long hours (even went into the office at weekends, after getting into work at 7.30am and leaving at about 6.30pm weekdays), but with the downturn, various redundancies resulted in an increased workload for those still in the job, even more pressure on fee earning, and I got increasingly stressed and unhappy.

    Early 2010 I took voluntary redundancy, I tried to get another job with my qualifications, but following 11 interviews, and the only job being offered in Reading (4 hours away), and with a partner unable to relocate, I gave up. I started applying for jobs I was not qualified for, but had lost all my confidence, and got nowhere.

    I was in the fortunate position of not having to earn much money to get by (live mortgage free, and with a husband who can afford to pay the bills if necessary), I went self-employed.

    I was at a low, and it was all I could think of, to do. I took some clients from previous job, and have a picked up a few of my own. However, I find myself going crazy without the office interaction, and at times difficult to "crack on with it" when there is nobody working alongside you.

    In 2008, I was ever so happy in my job, and where my career was heading. The experience has taught me that life can turn on a sixpence, and not to take a job for granted.

    I'm happier again in 2012, but admittedly it's taken me time to get a grip and take responsibility for my career.



  14. Posted January 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Mahj, I'm not sure why I didn't comment on this when it was posted, I certainly read it on Wednesday. Anyho, I wanted to say how glad I am that you found your way back into the industry you love and got offered a job. I remember you saying how you were in a thumb-twiddling job in some of your RMW posts so now I'm super happy for you that you battled on and found the light at the end of the tunnel!

    I'm stuck in a job that bores me at the moment, that was once my dream job, but I've been in it far too long and I'm screaming inside while I sit at my desk under my never-ending mountain of work – so it's good to hear others have escaped to a better place! :)


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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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