It’s been 12 years.
Single-use plastic is now banned (and will be taxed from 2019). Bench-marking salaries has eventually started to happen. I ran a team of entirely females. Snapchat has peaked and troughed. Theresa May is still Prime Minister. Giraffes will be extinct in our lifetime. Menthol cigarettes are being banned. Climate change has reached unfathomable levels. Trump is President. Trump is still, somehow, alive. We are still friends with Korea. We are still friends with the Russians. Love Actually is still the nation’s favourite Christmas film. No one talks on the tube.
We all still drink too much. We all still don’t understand the meaning of kindness.
Yet despite the fact that life has moved forward (or backwards in some respect), it seems that the events industry is just… well pretty stagnant really.
I was the only female Project Manager left at my previous company. I handled one of the largest accounts we had, if not the largest international mixer companies to have ever existed. I am proud to high-five myself for the work I achieved, the money I made (for other people), the people I met, the favours I asked, the places I went. BUT I will not high-five the industry for making me work the hours I worked, live from the wage I earned, endure from the pain I endured and, most importantly, suffer the continuous and ongoing issues I have with mental health.
YES it was my choice to do the jobs. YES I could have been better. I could have eaten, slept and exercised more. And YES I could have pushed back and fought my case. But hindsight plagues us. It eats us up constantly and makes us endlessly question all the choices we have ever made.
Could I have worked more?
Could I have worked harder?
Count I have asked for help?
Could I have been better?
You have to be a certain type of human to survive this game and sometimes I am just not. I will be the first to cry. I crave sleep. I now take anti-depressants to help cure my physical pain. I have the same nightmares each night from the medication that I can only sleep with someone next to me. I eat badly. I drink too much. I break promises to myself. I barely see anyone.
This is not the person I was meant to be. It is the person I have changed into. It is the person I am. And it would be easy for me to blame the jobs I have done or the people I have worked for. And however easy it is for me to shift blame, it is down to me and me alone.
So thank you for the opportunities. Thank you for the people and the chances and the irreplaceable life experiences. But protect yourself. “They say” “you have one life – live it”.
Live every second, remember every face, count every breath.
But do it for you. And you only. Because when you strip it all back, who else do you have to answer to?