“It’s important to consistently take the time to look at yourself and figure out what’s working and what’s not in your life, in your relationships, in your work.” – Amy Stanton, founder and CEO of Stanton & Company
When I was 5 years old I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer changed from police officer, teacher, veterinarian, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t know then and I still don’t really know. It’s now twenty years later and I don’t believe there is one specific job out there for me. In my life I’ve already done: retail, HR, marketing, advertising/PR, IT, tutoring and even interned in speech pathology. All these positions had their highs and lows, but aside from the awful retail position none of them altered or impacted my overall life satisfaction.
I do not think your career needs to define you, and I think it’s the wrong message to urge people to pursue their passion as a career or else life won’t be as meaningful. News flash: if everybody pursued their passion as a career our society would not work. So rather than dropping everything to pursue a passion; I’ve taken time to reflect and identify my strengths and weaknesses and go from there.
As I sat poolside with my closest friends, regardless of being employed or unemployed we all seemed underwhelmed. We did what was expected of us from family and society; and by this I mean we attended college, obtained a degree and then got a job somewhat related to the degree. Even though we achieved these plans we were all bored. The mood and energy of our conversation only went up when we talked about travel plans, our favorite countries, our pets and clothing stores we loved. I think the energy shift in conversations says a lot of about how most people our age view their jobs.
We went on to discuss potential plans which contemplated going back to school for graduate degrees, relocating to work for companies we truly liked, or simply becoming a nanny to avoid taxes. I would say the one aspect we all eventually wanted was to work for ourselves; whether that meant entrepreneurship, freelancing or consulting.
I see my co-workers who have been working for the federal government for 30-50 years and most appear miserable and frustrated as they count down the days to their retirement. Now I’m at the point, where I want to avoid all this. I don’t care to climb the corporate ladder just to have a corner office with a view. Twenty years down the line, I really do not want to be dreading meetings on subject matters I could care less for. I certainly don’t want to be wishing my life away for the sake of retirement. Which brings me to the title of this blog post which is pursuing a lifestyle rather than a job.
I’ve determined what I want in life and how I want to live my life, I’ve determined what traits I succeed at and what tasks I do not like. With all these facts, now it’s just my turn to really fine tune my aspirations and goals to ensure I’m living the life I want.
So if you’ve read this far, and you don’t think one career is for you I agree. I say to take a different approach and let your lifestyle define your career. Also if you are curious about your strengths take this free quiz. I took it http://high5test.com/ and found the assessment to be pretty accurate.