I recently had a conversation with someone who was having a hard time dealing with the thoughts and feelings surrounding not having a career, they described themselves as a ‘loser without a career’.
Unfortunately the world in which we live in today and the messages we receive through social media in particular puts so much emphasis on the importance of having a career; seemingly a measure of our greatness.
The unspoken message appears to be that if you don’t have a career that you should be wearing a big fat ‘L’ for loser tee-shirt. One that proclaims to the world your socially unacceptable status.
I bought into this thought process for a long time, when I trained as a counsellor I thought this is IT. I had found validation and was going to build this great career, joining the ranks of successful professionals. Then I got sick and everything changed, I no longer had the energy or the clear mindedness to pursue an occupation in this field. I came to a screeching halt, stalling before I’d even got fully started in what I thought would become my forever career.
This was a major spanner in the works, one that rapidly became a huge issue in my life. I felt useless, rudderless and envious of people who got to progress in their chosen field. Setting up an online business in an attempt create a career to fit in with my personal limitations also proved too much to cope with. Once again I was left feeling that I had failed at life that I no longer had a valid response to the ‘So what do you do?’ question.
A different perspective
Five years on following a roller coaster of a ride to regain my health I have come to realise that maybe this is not what it’s all about. That the career equals happiness mode of thinking might be wrong. I have become convinced that a career won’t bring you the total happiness and complete fulfilment we are led to believe it will. But surely we’ve seen it happen for others right? No I’m not sure we have. I think what we have been witnessing is people experiencing fulfilment because they’re happy and content on many levels when they enter into their chosen field. For these people their career is just the cherry on top of their ice-cream sundae.
I was forced to give up on my chosen career path and had my focus forcibly shifted to one of self development, since then I have come to believe that when you focus on the simpler things; all well-being and loving yourself without the measuring stick of external factors such as that amazing career or a new car then you start to find yourself. You really learn to be comfortable with who you are. It is at this point that experiences and opportunities present themselves and allow your path to naturally unfold before you.
I never in a million years have thought I would be entering into the world of skincare, yet here I am more settled and confident than I’ve ever been despite an unknown outcome and an open ended goal. I have accidentally fallen into the next chapter of my life and the irony is that I am more likely to be succeed because it has been borne out of contentment and is a natural extension of the person I have become.
I am no longer chasing a career because I feel it’s the right thing for a modern woman to do. I’m no longer desperately seeking a defining role in order to become one of life’s ‘successfuls’. I have given up trying to mould myself into becoming a professional of some sort. Instead I am learning to be more comfortable with myself, self- loving and re-evaluating. By allowing my experiences and interactions to shape and guide me my working life is finding me.
I am learning that not having a zip-a-dee-do-dah career straight off isn’t a shortcoming, it’s not a failure, it’s doing life differently. Perhaps life would be better and things would fall into place more readily if we spent a little more time focused on the beautiful human beings we are. If we praised ourselves for the little everyday things we achieve and allowed ourselves to consider all our wonderful qualities and facets of personality that others love us for.
How would life turn out for us if we allowed ourselves to be beautiful, strong and clever in different ways than what is considered the norm. What if worked at being successful at loving ourselves before trying to be successful in other areas. What if we started wearing ‘A’ for Amazing tee-shirts not for what job we have but simply, just for being us.
See more about self-love here.