Friday, 30 December 2016

Holding On

Day 31 (Saturday 31st December 2016)

31st ever Summer Olympics officially opened in Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, 
Brazil, on August 5th 2016. We need fireworks on New Year's Eve! 
Another 31 that might appeal to many readers of this blog is a
 31% increase in base salaries for HR Managers in the UK during 2016 - 2nd highest salary 
increase (joint with Business Development Senior Managers) and topped by 
MarCom specialists and Corporate Bankers.

It is New Year's Eve. For those of you who are celebrating today, I wish you a wonderful end to 2016 and a great start to 2017. May the New Year prove a happy, healthy, enjoyable, memorable one, in which you achieve your goals, inspire others to do the same and find contentment. In my opinion, Tamasin Sutton has written a perfect post for New Year's Eve - reflective, candid and optimistic for the future. 

Although now a recognised as a "non fluffy" and highly effective HR professional, Tamasin commenced her career in retail, working for one of the UK's leading jewellery chains. In 2003 she changed path and commenced in HR - achieving a Masters in HRM at Bournemouth and establishing the HR function for a what was then a small insurance broking business, with two sites, in the south of England.  Since then she has worked in a number of sectors, usually establishing and managing teams, including housing, technology, business to consumer transportation and then as an independent consultant. Until recently, Tamasin was working and living in London (indeed she was my near neighbour in Brixton). As you will see from her post below, her life has changed again; she will have new challenges and opportunities to experience in the year to come. On the cusp of the year I am raising a glass of gin to Tamasin to wish her all success in 2017.

Tamasin is on Twitter (her handle is @TamasinS). She is an avid traveller (indeed she wrote and sent me her piece whilst on a trip in the USA just before Christmas).


I've read the Advent blog series for the last few years and wanted to share, be as open and self effacing as others were. Push myself. I'm not one for being vulnerable in public and at many times in my life people have assumed they knew me, a different me from the person I really am. Someone critical, distant, perhaps even cold. Why is this relevant for my blog? Because it's been a tough year, and one where I have tried to show 'me' more than ever, sometimes successfully, other times I've missed the mark spectacularly.

This year has been filled with both personal as well as professional challenges. It's also had it's fair share of highs and at times, hollows. Deep dark hollows which have overwhelmed me and threatened to consume me whole. The gut wrenching ones where you just want to run and hide, cry, be with people you love and who love you back. Here's the problem's really hard to be that vulnerable. I am so thankful for the people around me that I can be that vulnerable with, 

and I'm sorry to those who want to be there for me and I haven't let them in. It's the old cliché - it's not you, it's me....

Everyone has their challenges and so many people I love and care about have had so many ups and down this year - I'm not any different, except I feel that 2016 has been a defining year. A year which started with a long bedside vigil with my Nana, whom I had a sometimes difficult relationship with. She passed away in a great deal of pain, something that no person should ever have to endure. My loss was tempered by the elation of a new working relationship, supporting people in my profession to develop themselves. It was, and is, one of the best things to happen in my career. It has brought me joy, firing my passion for HR and doing great people stuff. It's given me opportunities in abundance to reflect and grow in my practice, all whilst battling the inherent self doubt in my capabilities. I've battled with exhaustion, with trying to help friends understand that it's not about them, the reason I can't meet up as much as I would like. I juggled with a more demanding (than I thought) contract to help transform a HR team. I was attracted by the challenge. I forgot to put me first and learn from previous experience. I've felt isolated, hollow, guilty for putting work first, knowing it was short lived, a light at the end of the tunnel.

This has been a year of change, one which is taking me well out of my comfort zone and out of London, back to the north. I'm excited, but equally sad to leave wonderful friends and a home I love. But what opportunity. What hope. As I have driven the vast distances in the US for the past few days I have reflected long and hard about my journey this year. About the highs, the hollows, the hope. One of the most difficult things in my life happened recently and as I drifted into a deep hollow, I drew on strength I didn't even know I had. It was the love and support from people I never expected. Their hearts were open and whilst the clock chimes, the Thames continues to flow, I stand still. 

But the love and support I have from those people give me hope for next year. Take a moment, at this time of year, to show people you appreciate them, and be kind to yourself. Find your joy and happiness. Mine is to be with the ones I love, embracing my never ending wander lust and being the best person I can be. I'll be holding on to hope and hearts.


  1. Vulnerability is strength - we would do well to remember that into 2017

  2. Thanks Peter - agreed! Happy New Year