I’ve been having an existential crisis as of late in regards to my career and careers in general.
Fuelled by TikToks that seem to pop up on this subject just when I’m going through it, probably doesn’t help either, but I’ve been thinking hard about what a career really means to me.
Rewind a few years when I was in university and studying for my degree and I was very much in the #GirlBoss mindset. I wanted to be amazing in my career and climb my way to the top, no matter what.
And I feel like I was achieving that. I was doing all the internships, writing about public relations every week on this blog to get noticed, and secured the most amazing placement year, my first real job. I could see what my life could look like in the real world and I couldn’t wait.
Fast forward five years and what’s changed?
You’re more than a job title
A lot of people define themselves by their job title. ‘I’m in Marketing’, ‘I’m a chef’, ‘I’m the Manager of such-and-such’, and while there isn’t anything wrong with this, we are also a lot of other things.
Why not say ‘I’m a daughter,’ ‘I’m a mother,’ ‘I love watching movies on the sofa,’ or ‘I love to read’?
There are so many other endearing qualities about ourselves outside of work that mean much more than what we are paid to do week in and week out.
Next time you introduce yourself, don’t say what you do for a living. Tell the person something interesting about yourself, or something that you like about yourself that doesn’t involve your job.
You’ll be working for 40+ years
Since you’re going to be working for a very long time, stop caring about your job so much. Care about your life experiences outside of work and the memories you can make.
I’ve started to break down what a job and career really means for me. Essentially, we go to work to earn money to put food on the table, pay our bills and have a little extra to enjoy life with. It also gives us a sense of purpose and motivation to go through life Monday to Friday.
So do I want to work my ass off, work more hours than I’m contracted to get promoted, to get even more responsibility and more stress, to not actually be able to enjoy the added bonus of a pay increase and a better title?
Then, what’s it all for?
We’re going to be working for so long that I want to enjoy my life outside of work while I’m young, not working from dusk to dawn to show to those higher up that I’m so dedicated to my career.
The nursing home metaphor
I saw a TikTok video recently that showed a nursing home full of pensioners tapping on drums in time with music.
It said, ‘are we really slaving our life at work to then end up here when we’re old?’ and it really stuck with me.
We’re all going to end up at that age someday, so I don’t want to waste my youth worrying about the career ladder and how fast I can climb it.
I want life experiences, I want to travel the world, I want to have so many different jobs and have so many stories to tell when I’m older.
I don’t want to be just another cog in the system.
What do you want to be remembered for?
When I really deep it, I think about my job in a number of years’ time. Will anyone remember. the influencer partnership I did for a certain fragrance launch? Will they remember that time I sent out 100x makeup items to influencers?
But I guess that’s what life is when you work for a huge international company, which makes me think that I could see myself working for myself in the future.
I know that I want to help people in some way and have this be my career, but I just haven’t found what exactly that entails yet.
I love creating content and I want to be remembered for the travels, the life experiences and amazing things that I’ve done in my life that doesn’t involve working for someone else. That’s the goal.
So, what’s more important, your career or the time you spend outside of it?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that your career is one small piece of the pie that makes you, you.
Yes your career is important to put food on the table and pay the bills, but do you need to work every hour of the day and be stressed out in order to do so?
There may be some changes happening in the next year or so while I go through this mindset shift and figure out what it is I want to do with my life now that I’m leaning away from the traditional career ladder.
I’ll let you know if I figure anything out, but stick around for the journey as I’m sure there will be a lot more blog posts like this in the next few months to come.