Surviving the Terrible Twos: Careers

career

A few weeks ago I sent out a depressing tweet that said something along the lines of,

“No one tells you how hard your twenties will be.”

The lovely Samantha Jo Berry spoke up in agreement and said jokingly that she could do a whole blog series on it. Always a fan of a challenge and new opportunity, my immediate response was, “let’s do it together!”.

AND TA-DA, here we are. The ten years inbetween going to school and being a mature and full functioning adult is (insert profanity here) hard. It’s confusing and messy and lonely, despite the fact that we all go through it. In true twenties self-involved form, we think it’s only us that’s suffering. Such a lie. Which is why Sam and I are writing this series.

For the next three Wednesdays, Samantha of The Biggity Big Blog and I will come to you with our messy lives and lay it all out. Advice and whinging included, in equal amounts. Today we will cover Careers, the one thing I have a deep love/hate relationship with. Next week will be Dating, and that should be funny since my love life belongs back in primary school. And finally in week 3, Finances. The only advice that will include is what NOT to do because my money management skills are Dire with a capital D.

Your twenties is one thing you certainly cannot go under or over, because then you miss all the joys of going through it. Of which there really are many! We hope you enjoy the series and share your thoughts in the comments.

And don’t forget to read Sam’s post today on careers too, it’s a good’n.

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Yesterday over on the So Worth Loving blog I shared my struggles with holding my career in too higher esteem. It’s been a big head and heart ache for me since I left school, full of questions about my ability, talent and purpose. It’s made me cry and yell in frustration. It’s made me feel insecure in a city where everyone is someone and I’m lagging. We live in an era where young people are setting up businesses and living their dream because we are told “you can do anything!” and “never give up!”

What about when you don’t know what your dream is, let alone who you are or what you’re good at? What about when you need to pay the bills and don’t have the time or resources to pursue your passion? Continue reading

Is Your Career Worth More Than Your Reputation?

I’m not a dog-eat-dog kind of girl; it’s just not my style. I am ambitious but I won’t stamp on anyone to get up in my career. Viciously fighting my way to the top while trampling people underfoot does not compute in my mind. I don’t think it’s ever worth it and my reputation is more important to me than anything.

Yet I live and work in one of the biggest financial hubs in the world, steaming with people fixated on conquering the next rung of the never-ending ladder of success. It’s nasty and I despise it. I am in the middle of the city posing as one of them but deep down, I’m not at all.

Maybe I’m naive or innocent to think that motivation and hard-work are enough to see one do well in their life and career. That you can only leave one mark on the people you meet in this world, so it may as well be a good one. That business doesn’t have to control you or ruin you, selling your human compassion and generosity along the way. And that it will all pay off because our reputations last longer than any job or position.

I just so happen to think that I will do well by being genuine, honest and kind while aiming to be successful in my field. I may not make it to the top, but that isn’t necessarily what I want. Getting to the top means a lot of sacrifice. I’ve been working in corporate organisations for three years and I’ve seen first hand that the main thing that gets sacrificed is also the most important thing: people. Family, friends and colleagues.

It also means working your butt off and maybe even shoving some people out of your way. And what for? A sense of purpose, which I understand, but usually the greatest motivator that I can see is money. More money. Too much money. It is a never ending pursuit because the more we have, the more we want. Even I have fallen into this trap.

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not suggesting we all sit back and give glitter, hugs and sunshine to our colleagues. I myself have been considering that I need to prove myself as a professional and not be walked over. I’m young and impressionable, and have been taken for a ride in the past for this very reason. Experience is the best teacher of these things, unfortunately.

Healthy competition is a great motivator to push forward, but with too much of it there’s no time to get to know anyone; to have an impact, to connect, to bless. I always think of America’s Next Top Model in relation to this, and how the girls can be downright horrible to each other, and defend their bony ass honour by saying “I’m not here to make friends”.

So why are we here, in this game of life? To succeed at a job, to get married, to have kids, to buy a house, to get rich… The list never ends and there’s nothing actually wrong with it but if it comes at a cost to our character or the people in our lives to obtain it, that’s a problem.

When all is said and done, our character and reputation is really all we have. Without a fancy CV or resume, without earthly awards or accolades, we only have what people can testify about us. We have our reputation which lies in our integrity. What would the people you work with, that you spend most of your time with, say about you?

Who you are and the impression you leave on other people is your resume for life, so make it a good one. You won’t regret it.

I will work hard, respect my colleagues and run toward my goals, but I won’t be tripping anyone up along the way. I’m just not cut out for that sort of high-flying career, after all, I’ve got my humble street cred to protect.

Do you struggle with this in your profession? How do you deal with it? Are you more competitive than I am? 

Uneducated and Successful

In my last year of high school, one of my teachers very gently told me that she ‘didn’t think university was for me’. I didn’t know whether to be relieved or offended! However I was sitting up at the front of the class next to her desk, yet again, for being way too loud and doing way too little work, so you can sympathise with where she was coming from. My mum was still pretty mad at that teacher (nice to know my mum believed in me, even if it is in the job role). The fact is that the classroom was more of a social gathering to me than anything else. I tried, I really did, but my big mouth always got the better of me.

For the past four years since I left school, I think people in my life have been subconsciously waiting for me to sign up to University. And I have been waiting with them, filling the time with working and travelling (and loving every minute of it). But if I am completely honest, I would rather bang my head against a brick wall repeatedly than study.

Sadly, for a long time I thought that because I wasn’t an academic and didn’t like school that I was unintelligent. The truth is that I love learning, just not in a classroom. Some people are better at ‘learning while doing’ as opposed to ‘learning how to do’, and I think I’m one of them. After years of not knowing what to do about my reluctance to apply to university, I am now totally content with the fact that I am an ‘intern girl’ and that is just as good as being a student. I have rich life experience and have learnt a lot in my various job roles. Life experience is invaluable.

Does university always equate to success? It depends what you think success is. In the dictionary it is defined as ‘the favourable outcome of something attempted’. Success is in the eye of the beholder and is ultimately achieved by one’s choices, determination and attitude. University is what you make it, as is life.

I feel that right now I am successful in life, but I have a lot more success to achieve and I am very aware of how much further I have to go. I’m content but not comfortable. I have a fantastic job in a great company, a role that I was too inexperienced for when they first employed me. However I was called by God and I am highly favoured!

Though I don’t want to be an Office Manager for the rest of my life, I am learning so much and I know these years are laying pivotal foundations for my career. In my four short years of being out of school I have dabbled in a lot and I relish this exciting season in my career.

So maybe my teacher was right when she said university wasn’t for me, and that’s fine because it doesn’t define me or hinder me in any way. When you open your eyes and have a desire to learn, there is a heck of a lot to be learned outside the classroom.

And who knows, maybe one day I will study full time. The world is my oyster and I am open to anything!

Did you go to university or straight to work? Are you where you want to be in life? Would you change the decision you made on university (either to go or not go).