The Circle Line


"I felt any sign of struggle would be perceived as a weakness."


About 5 years ago I moved to Belgium for work. I’d never been before, I couldn’t really speak French. It was my first time living on my own, I didn’t really know anybody outside of work. and then the work started slowly building up. And it built up and built up, it got to a point where I was working 14 hour days, and working at weekends.

I felt any sign of struggle would be perceived as a weakness. So I just sort of kept it all locked in. I was like “No, I can’t. I’m a Project Manager”. It’s like spinning plates. If one slips and breaks, I would be considered a failure. Working for an international company I was working with people in Asia and the U.S, by the time I went to bed I’ve got emails coming in from the U.S, and by the time I wake up, I have emails coming in from Japan and China, so it was literally 24/7 round the clock, bang, bang, bang. 

There were a few times where I was just waking up at 3 o’clock in the morning and being physically sick. 

I was so determined to make a good impression and I didn’t want to let anyone down, like the people that got me the job, or my boss. I didn’t want to be seen as a failure. 

What put it into perspective was towards the end of the year when I started speaking to one or two people, a colleague of mine, his wife and two children had been in a car crash and that sort of put things in perspective.

There’s me stressing about doing a presentation on time or replying to these emails that come across at like 4 or 5 in the morning. When this guy’s family are in hospital and I’m stressing out about all this nonsense and then I slowly started getting back into my routine, going to the gym and eating well again, and speaking to people.

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