archives, you & me

Meeting with My Ex-Corporate Life.

I recently met up with my ex — my ex-employer, that is. We had a 16-year working relationship.

Work Relationship: A Love Affair?

At the moment, I’m solo-touring Europe in a camper van for 12 months, having left my long-term corporate job. One of the many explorative adventures I jumped on to post-corporate life. 

While travelling through Northern Italy, I stopped for a few days in Milano where I met up with friends and ex-colleagues, and revisited the HQ of my former employer. My recent ex-corporate job.

I was asked how I felt being back there, and I admitted it gave me a certain feeling that I proceeded to describe as if I was meeting up with an ex-partner, facing three potential reactions:

  • Option 1: Seeing each other again makes me want to get back together,
  • Option 2: I enjoy the meetup and feel so glad we stayed friends,
  • Option 3: I am reminded of why it ended!

My dear colleague, who incidentally is also pretty high up in the HR ranking of the group, laughed at the connection I made to a love relationship, and was curious to know which one of the three options was triggered for me. 

“A combination of all three!” I said with a happy and confident smile.

The Value of Befriending the Past

It’s been more than a year since we parted and I left my office at the London subsidiary. I wasn’t attracted by somewhere else to go to, I was simply longing to be single again.

The choice wasn’t easy, but when you stay true and honest to yourself and everyone, acceptance and respect for that choice follows. A choice that came from a place of love. Love for self. Love for life.

I’m still in touch with many of my ex-partners, and in the same vein, I’m still in touch with many of the great people I worked with in my corporate job. I can happily call them friends. This happens when all parties appreciate the change and evolution that happen in life.  

I believe that when we move forward with the same strides, we move forward alongside. Whether we physically reconnect or speak again or not, the appreciation and respect remain and help us all grow from the experience we had.

No matter who leaves whom, or how a story ends, I look for the goodness in my past. In the same way that I appreciate all the work experience and opportunities to grow that I allowed myself to receive from my career.

It’s not living in the past, it’s cherishing it in the present. Replacing should haves, could haves and would haves with thank you, thank you and thank you

Lessons Learnt or Repeated Patterns

If you asked me a few years ago, I probably wouldn’t have come to these same conclusions.

Over time I have learnt to appreciate the power of gratitude, the benefit of living at peace, and the privilege of all life experiences.

When I reconnect with something or someone from my past, I look for the lessons learnt and for any new ones I may have missed.

This changes the whole experience and gives me a new outlook for the present, so that I can build a stronger and better future. Or else old patterns will keep repeating.

I no longer regret difficult past experiences, or begrudge lost exes nor resent former employers. I feel love for it all.

I do wonder, however, how differently would my life have unfolded had I created my past with this knowledge much sooner? How else would those lessons have been presented to me?

Maybe it’s worth considering these points when assessing the good and bad from your past too.


In September 2018, Francesca Dal Bello embarked on a solo van-life adventure, touring Europe in a camper van for one year. While on the road, she serves as a Freedom Coach, shares her passion for freedom, gratitude, foolishness and positivity through her writing and speaking, and manages her two rented properties in London. After 22 years of office life and the last 16 in the legal and corporate secretarial sector, Francesca took a big leap of faith and swapped her successful career for exploring new horizons. She went volunteering in Nepal, solo travelling in Asia for 4 months, riding her Harley from London to Italy (and back!), walking 930 km along the Camino de Santiago, then launched her own life coaching business. You can get in touch with her and follow her stories and updates on Gr8fool and Instagram. To find out more about how her Freedom Coaching sessions can help identify and remove limiting beliefs and damaging self-assessments, and increase glorious gratitude and love in your life, you can get in touch with Francesca here.


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