I’M 20 YEARS OLD AND EVERYONE MY AGE IS GRADUATING WITH A DEGREE NEXT YEAR AND I’VE SPENT THE LAST 3 YEARS ACHIEVING NOTHING, GOING FROM JOB TO JOB, NOT KNOWING WHAT CAREER I WANT, WHO I AM OR WHAT I AM DOING WITH MY LIFE.
I can’t tell you HOW many times these thoughts have ran through my head.
I remember leaving university, feeling so resolute in my decision. I felt so motivated to succeed, so passionate that I would have established the beginnings of my career by now (with no debt and more professional experience than others who had persevered at University).
But that hasn’t happened, that ideal has not been my reality.
why? because life isn’t perfect. life is bloody hard.
I’ve followed a few of my passions, believing that they will lead to a lifelong career – I’ve worked in events (really not keen on the desk life), baking (I HATE working with pastry – doesn’t bode well for a pastry chef…) wedding cake design and decor (I realised that I don’t actually enjoy the repetitive manual labour that comes with working in an industrial kitchen… oh and that the only other option was to magically materialise £8,000 from nowhere to set up a business with absolutely no experience and no desire to become a CEO). Other career ideas not actually put into action include estate agency, wedding planning, fitness training, retail management, management consultancy, customer service management, accountancy… ACCOUNTANCY(?!)
You name it, I’ve considered it as a career.
and you know what?
I’ve finally realised that I still don’t have a clue. AND THAT’S OKAY. Most people in their 50’s who have been working the same job for 30 years STILL DON’T HAVE A CLUE.
I can’t stress how important it is to let yourself ‘fail’, to explore and to try things and accept that maybe they’re not right for you. AND KEEP TRYING.
Some people are born knowing exactly what career they want when they ‘grow up’ and that’s so great! – you go and do it, achieve your goals and don’t stop until you get there. But if it turns out that 10 years down the line, your dream career wasn’t what you thought it was going to be and you want to give it all up in pursuit of something different then WHY NOT. You have a decade of quality training and are a better person for it. Just because you go to med school to become a doctor or you train with a dance company for 10 years doesn’t mean that you’re unqualified for any other job – most skills are transferable anyway.
This is something I have to tell myself over and over again. Every new career path I try and ‘fail’ at is another one I can rule off the list, one day I will finish my list. It might take 10 jobs or 100 but I will find my ideal career one day.
No doubt I will return to this subject another time but for now I just want to leave you with (and remind myself) of some key lessons:
- Don’t judge your success by comparing yourself to others – we are all on our own path, we are all unique and God knows, everyone is jealous of everyone in some way or another.
- Every ‘failure’ is a victory and an important lesson learnt.
- You don’t have to have just one job. When I was little I would dream about being a dancer, or an archaeologist or a fashion designer, but never all 3 at the same time… why not? you can do whatever you want to do – don’t box yourself in.
- Who you ARE and what you DO are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. Having periods of unemployment and having to answer the question ‘so what are you doing now?’ is one of the HARDEST things – it all comes back to comparing yourself to others – I get so anxious when this happens, all I want is for my friends and family to think of me as successful and be proud of me (who doesn’t?). Somewhere along the track I forgot that it’s okay to not have a job, to not know what you want career-wise and that all of those things don’t make you any less of a person.
- In the words of Jess Glynne, ‘Don’t be so hard on yourself’. Easier said than done, I know. Every day we have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, Tumblr, Youtube (and all of the other social media accounts I have yet to discover) shouting right in our faces about other people’s successes, their money, their perfectly toned bodies their beautiful possessions, their career promotions, their perfect families etc etc. Don’t get me wrong I think social media is an absolutely brilliant invention, and I love the positives that come with celebrating and encouraging people’s successes… but, I do understand that social media also comes with a dark side. We feel like we have to live up to these successes and we bring ourselves down when we feel like we don’t quite achieve them. THIS IS NOT HEALTHY. Social media will never show you a 360 of anyone’s life – it is so important not to judge (1) people on what they seem to be – you never know what struggles other people are going through, even if their life does seem perfect to you, and (2) not to judge yourself or compare your life to the idealised snippets of other people’s lives on social media.
Okay, rant over. Love who you are and don’t forget to believe in yourself.