The first half of 2018 was a busy one – both personally and professionally. It’s November now and I moved from Aberdeen to London and then on to Reading. In just one month, I moved to a new city for a new job, pursuing a career in tax advisory, readjusting to single life, and making as much time as possible for people with powerful energy. I’m wrapping up the year with a ‘Social Advent Calendar’ for each day of December. Do you want to get involved?
July: I moved out of Aberdeen and into London to finish my LLM in a few weeks instead of two months thanks to a job offer in tax advisory with one of the Big Four. There were four application stages which involved two trips to London for a group interview and a final interview discussing a case study in VAT treatment. The job was preceded by two months of ‘Tax Academy’ which was VAT advisory training to get all the team up to scratch. Graduating with a job was a key priority for me and I never would have anticipated an opportunity like this would avail itself to me. It all started with a message in my LinkedIn inbox with a link and encouragement to try and apply!
August: I’m proud to say that being accepted onto a tax advisory role wasn’t a matter of confused identity and that it was me who was meant to be on Tax Academy. That’s a picture of me figuring out VAT treatment for Capital Goods Items … and I managed it too. Granted, I had to move into a different room and get a whiteboard and start scribbling, and it took a long time, with support from a colleague who previously worked in VAT with HMRC, but I did it.
September: This month held a particularly strong milestone for me. At the end of March, my partner and I broke up and even through it was civil, it was also fucking brutal. In the same week he moved out, there was further news of suicide and cancer diagnosis affecting friends and family. Without my best friend, it was very hard to see the sunlight and I just wanted to keep my eyes closed, stay curled up, and let the time pass.
But life rolls on and a couple of weeks later, I had a ‘fun’ solo birthday trip to Lisbon (it was miserable) and then a four-hour technical Chartered Institute of Arbitrators law exam (for which I had an undiagnosed kidney infection). Everything hurt, very deeply, and it was still vital to keep propelling forward. We had both been pursuing Masters degrees in Aberdeen since moving back from Uganda together. He was able to finish his degree long distance and I stayed in the flat.
In September, after months of short phone-calls, emails settling outstanding bills, cancelling shared contracts, finding other people to share memes with, and trying to be friends - we met for dinner in London. Let me tell you, it was worth all the tears, the awkward phone calls, remembering not to use nicknames or say ‘I love you’ at the end of the phone call, and returning jumpers when it felt right.
With genuine respect, patience, honesty, trust, and a hell of a lot of personal growth we have come through the other side without hate or toxicity. It was bloody difficult and if my next ex is reading this – respect breeds respect before, during, and after a relationship and you only get what you give. I’ll be picking up my LLM alone in November and I will be fine because even though we split, we did it together, and both graduated with Distinction. I know he’s happy for me and I wish him the best.
October: October marks a year since I took part in the 2017 Future Leaders Connect event run by the British Council. Being in London meant I could join one of events for the Future Leaders this year – the highlight was hearing Graça Machel speak and heading out for dinner with the 2017 cohort.
November; I mentioned this on Instagram and Facebook (and this blog already) but November is the month I attend graduation to physically collect an LLM in International Commercial Law with Arbitration – to be awarded with distinction. Despite the kidney infection, I also passed the Chartered Institute of Arbitration technical law exam with a high enough mark to apply as a fellow and plan on pursuing this opportunity too.
December: From the 1st – 25th, I will make time to write, call, or have a coffee with self-nominated friends, colleagues, and family. Connecting for a catch up about what went on in 2018 would be a joy! If you want to get involved in a #chrystallclearchristmas – find me on Instagram (@chrystallclear) and nominate yourself. Let me know if you want a chat in person, or over the phone, or if a letter would be your preference. This year and last year, it was a blessing to be with friends I hadn’t seen for ten years so let’s not leave it that long again.