Argentina, Breast cancer, Cancer, Careers, Dublin, Emotional Health, Ireland, UK, Uncategorized, Women's Health

Find What You Love: The Next Chapter

IMG_6429The day I quit Bloomberg in March 2012, I expected my managers to be mad at me. I was abandoning the company to which I’d devoted most of my 20s, and I was leaving my colleagues in the lurch.

Instead, the wise bureau chief gave me a hug and said “You’ll never regret leaving any job. Every time you leave a company or make a big change, things always work out for the best.”

Fourteen months on, I can honestly say he was absolutely right. Things did work out for the best. Just not exactly in the way we both imagined.

It turned out the decision to quit Bloomberg and leave Argentina was the decision that saved my life. The move to Ireland prompted me to return to the doctors for a second medical opinion, and the rest is history.

IMG_6431So, when a colleague at Facebook said the exact same thing when I told him I was leaving today, I couldn’t help but smile. Everything happens for a reason.

Some people have found it hard to see why I’ve been – for the most part – a happier person since cancer came into my life, and it’s always been a little hard to explain. Now, here goes:

When I was about six years old, I knew exactly what I was going to be when I grew up. I was going to be the editor of a magazine. From the day I learned to write, I was scribbling down stories, typing away furiously in MS-DOS and making my own magazines with cut-out pictures and Pritt Stick. Over the years, I broadened my interests and grew to love a lot of things, from acting to languages to teaching to sport. But one thing always remained constant: my passion for writing.

Somehow, though, my career took a different path. I took a languages degree, travelled the world, became a financial journalist. Seven years into my career, I left Bloomberg – partly for personal reasons, partly because I had lost track of my goals and wasn’t passionate enough about finance. I moved into a job at Facebook, continuing with my love of languages and Latin America, but it wasn’t right.

IMG_6114Then I got cancer, and every instinct in my body told me to write, write, write. And it was the easiest thing in the world: writing about something close to my heart, something I knew, something I truly cared about, something people wanted to read about.

Apart from my Mum and Dad, to whom I owe everything, writing was the thing that got me through the last 11 months of hell. My blog was what connected me with my friends, family and colleagues past and present when I was too sick to keep in touch with them in person. My blog was the thing that put me in touch with a whole new set of friends – a group of girls all over the world with whom I have cancer in common but who are by no means defined by their cancer.

But there comes a time when the Cancer part stops and the Life part starts again. I will continue this blog because there is still plenty to say and people who are benefiting from it, but I will be writing more and more about other things and the cancer part will take a back seat. It’s a shame when it takes a major illness to push you to follow your dreams, but if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last year, it’s that life is way too short.

photo(1)Tomorrow is my last day at Facebook and after that I plan to take a few months to properly rest and reflect on the crazy year I just had.

In September, I’ll be moving back to London to start the MA Magazine Journalism at City University – a course I’ve wanted to do for about a decade but never got the chance because life was too busy passing me by. I may be the oldest student in the class, probably doing my knitting in the back row and drinking cups of tea while the rest of the class go out drinking, but that’s ok. I’m doing it for me.

I will be forever grateful for the amazing times I had working at both Facebook and Bloomberg – two brilliant companies that taught me so much. From the lifelong friends I made at Bloomberg, to the people at Facebook who supported me through the hardest time of my life over the past year. I’m so lucky to have worked with so many talented, inspiring people at both companies and I don’t regret a single moment of my career so far.

When I was on sick leave, a colleague wrote a career testimonial in which the main message was “Find what you love”. A couple of weeks before me, she took heed of her own advice and jumped bravely into an unknown world of book-writing and doing what she loves. She didn’t even need cancer to spur her on.

When I announced my resignation from Facebook a couple of weeks ago, a big smile spread across my manager’s face. While there is the smallest possibility that he was just pleased to get rid of me, I’m pretty sure the smile indicated he was happy because he knew I’d found what I loved.

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16 thoughts on “Find What You Love: The Next Chapter

  1. Lisa Dawson says:

    Wholeheartedly agree! Great post. Enjoy the next few months and make sure you spend lots of time doing lots of things that make you happy 🙂 xx

  2. Bryan Foat says:

    Wowconwowgratswow!
    I couldn´t decide whether to start with “wow” or congrats” since both were clamoring to get out. I think CONGRATS is the most important but the wow factor is huge too. Wow for the change, wow for the guts to make it, wow for enrolling in the Masters program (and congrats! btw, be yee the eldest or not, I bet you´ll be the best…), congrats for following your heart and dreams. ALL THE BEST!
    On a separate and less important (but not unimportant) note: You´re bouncing back beautifully from baldness!!!

    • Thanks Bryan, I appreciate all the comments – I only just saw the one you wrote on my post about social media as well! I’m really looking forward to all the challenges and changes ahead… and yes, my hair is growing nicely! I wouldn’t mind keeping it this way but I’ll see how it turns out when it grows a bit more!
      Hope everything’s going well with you post-Bloomie. Take care! Laura

  3. Jo Kaye says:

    Good on you! The MA in magazine journalism sounds perfect for you. I can’t wait to go back to uni in Sept too 🙂 x

    • Thanks Jo, we can share study notes and meet up over the holidays! 😉 hehe … I haven’t read your travel blog in a while, will have to go and see how that’s going. Hope the travels are going amazingly! xxx

  4. Hi Laura,
    I must say just reading that has made me tear up a bit at my desk! Congratulations on leaving a job is a funny thing to say haha! I don’t need to say hope everything works out because it always does 🙂 I’m immenantly going to take a big leap in the direction of what I love, and your words have confirmed that it’s the right thing to do.
    Beijo grande!
    Natalie

    • Thanks Natalie! Really looking forward to hearing what you come up with next then – keep me posted on your next direction!! I have to say, I definitely have had similar epiphanies where someone has said something or done something that have made me think “I have to follow my dreams,” and I don’t think you’ll ever regret following your heart. Good luck and beijos enormes back atcha! xxx

  5. Adriana Tomalino says:

    Qué grande Laurita!!!! Siempre hay que mirar para adelante!!!!
    Sí, la vida es muy corta y hay que darse los gustos!!!! y hay que dar muchos abrazos reconfortantes que tanto bien nos hacen….así que atajá el mío….que va para allá!!!!!
    Excelente que retomes los estudios, beso enorme!!!
    Adri.

  6. JOSE NILTON says:

    Laura, I’m happy because you’re finally doing what you essence is asking you to do. You know I don’t like the virtual world very much, however, for you I will making an exception posting this note. You have been brave, and without a doubt you will succeed….YOU HAVE ALREADY!!!!! God bless you and I wish you all the best in your next adventures…..
    Best,
    Jose Nilton

    • Ahh thanks so much Nilton, it’s always great to hear from you and I’m glad you enjoyed this post! Best wishes to you too in whatever you’re up to these days and hopefully see you again in Sampa some day! Beijos enormes, Laura

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