ASK MERLY: The Countertalk Problem Page 08.06.21

Due to the pandemic I moved back my parent’s home in Ireland. I struggled to find a job. Now a lot of people are interested, and I was meant to start a new job today, but my home situation isn’t good and so told them I couldn’t stay long term. The job is actually great and now I am torn between leaving a job I really like to get my independence and see my friends again, or stay in a job and hope I make more friends in a v small town. To make matters worse I also struggle from depression and am having major decision fatigue. So, in short, how do you know which is the best career decision, and how do you trust yourself to make the right one? Will employers understand why I move around so much? It’s so hard to find a good fit and it them walk away from it.


The reality is that making moves in our careers is not about getting it right each and every time and the pressure of finding the perfect job keeps many afraid to give a chance to new opportunities. Before making any major decision, take some time to explore that “funny” feeling you get when contemplating your options. Pay attention to it. Intuition is what feels right TO YOU inside… it isn’t just a ‘silly gut feeling’. Our instincts can reshape our lives. You might think that your feelings and emotions are the enemy here and are stopping you from deciding but in fact they are integral to it. You’ve most likely had it before; a sense for something that has pointed you in the right direction or tugs at you when you’re going in the wrong direction.


If you really are feeling the negative impacts of indecisiveness, then I would firstly just step back from this predicament for a moment. Take a couple (or a few days) away from this and allow yourself to be distracted by other things or accept that you don’t need to decide right this moment. Believe it or not but this may be the best thing you can do for yourself and come back to it with a refreshed head and thoughts. Sometimes we can get too close to a situation and lose our sense of direction which dilutes our rationale.


Don’t let potential employers who you haven’t even met yet dictate what you do. If need be, you can explain in your covering letter or in an interview. This is hospitality, people move around for all sorts of reasons, especially during the pandemic your reason seems valid to me. Trying to find what fits is not a bad reason for moving around.


Writing it down sounds a little cliché, but it could really help you to get it out of your ahead and can apply some logic around your options. You may find it useful to look at the risk and rewards of each option list and see what comes up. This exercise could reveal which rewards outweigh the risks (and vice versa) and essentially what it is that’s most important to you. Here’s an example below:


Risks Rewards
Leaving comfort zone Possibility of improved mental health
Starting with a new team I don’t know More opportunities with a new company
Have to learn new skills Broaden industry knowledge
Leaving behind friends & colleagues A fresh start with a new company
Longer commute Less shifts


Another suggestion is take the pressure off by giving yourself a probationary period of time to see how either choice pans out in the short term. In the grand scheme of a career this isn’t a long time at all. It will just give you a little more time to allow whatever choice to unfold and you won’t feel so ‘trapped’ in your decision. Your friends aren’t going anywhere and equally, decent places of work do exist but I can appreciate why is hard for you as it can certainly feel like jobs that are a ‘good fit’ don’t come around all of the time. Don’t base your decision on social pressure or because you feel that you ‘should’ be doing this for your career or what it looks like on your CV, if doesn’t feel right. Base it on what you need to operate well in your life; your progression (personally or professionally), your health, your stability.


Above all, you won’t know either way unless you take a leap of faith! The major decision fatigue which you’re experiencing is making the situation worse. Once you choose, and lean in to your decision, I promise it will take a lot of the fear and anxiety away. Think of it this way –  either way there isn’t a bad choice. There is no failure here, just learnings and if it doesn’t work out then you are absolutely allowed to rethink your steps, acknowledged what has been learned and change the course of your path. Or it might be just be one of the best decisions you make. Either way, it’s a good move.


Good luck!




Hi Counteralk community,


You know that we’ve got you right? When you’re dealing with those big issues, you want someone who really gets it. Merly is an ex-chef, therapist, stress reduction coach and founder of @me_myself_inmind, which provides workshops, one-to-one therapy and group therapy for you incredible, hard-working, hard-caring people in the hospitality industry. Their mission is built around educating others on stress reduction techniques, mental health awareness and the importance of learning coping skills, emotional resilience and self awareness. Maybe you are working right now, or maybe you are at home learning to adjust. Those skills are still sorely needed to boost our wellbeing whatever we are up to.


Each week Merly is on hand to answer some of our community’s problems. If you would like to submit a problem, please email merly@countertalk.co.uk. All questions are completely confidential and kept 100% anonymous, now and always.


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