Here's a thing I've learned: the worst job you ever have will teach you important things. You will not know it at the time, though. At the time, you'll be convinced that you’ve indelibly stained your CV and ruined your life. You will feel ashamed and devastated and possibly humiliated. You will probably be angry and resentful and bitter.
It gets better. The sting of it fades. The heat comes out. And you will learn a lot from it in hindsight. Just like having an abysmal relationship helps you to recognise a good one when it comes along, so too a disastrous job will teach you what you do and don’t want in your next job. And the one after that.
It's taken me years to realise this. But the biggest fuck up of my career turned out to be a pivotal moment in my life. Without it, I would have never done what I was forced to do next.
After working happily in the magazine industry since I did work experience at 19 which turned into an editorship at 24 and ended 10 years later as Editor-In-Chief of Cosmo, Cleo and Dolly, I knew it was time for a new chapter.
In 2005, I left the building I'd walked into every working day for 15 years, ostensibly to go on maternity leave with my second child. But I knew I was done with mags.
A few months later, delirious with sleep-deprivation and naivity, I sleep-walked into the jaws of a career nightmare to take an ambiguous executive role at a big commercial TV network. Over the next seven months, that job would devour my confidence, my reputation and my identity. It sparked a prolonged period of intense anxiety and was the closest I’ve ever come to depression.