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Image / Editorial

Maybe you hate the career you always wanted, but that’s ok


by Edaein OConnell
03rd Nov 2018
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I have always had a plan. From a young age, I had a clear cut idea in my head of where I saw myself in the years ahead. Every move I made was done for the greater good of my future self- who was going to be extra cool with shiny hair and uber-successful.

The feeling of losing control never agreed with me, which is why making an endless list of plans enabled me to have options. These options were the safety net I had in my armour that helped to avoid disappointment and disaster. Having a list of goals and a visualisation of the person you will be in twenty years avoids the pandemonium of a #lifecrisis. Overthinking goes hand-in-hand with plans and the whole charade of your life turns into a game of chess; one wrong move and you lose the game.

#GIRLBOSS

Because everyone in the world is a #GIRLBOSS and has #CareerGoals, I wanted to be that too.  I knew the career I wanted was THE one. With desperation determination and steel running through my veins, I made my five-year plan. At the end of those five years, I would have made my mark in the business world and own a Range Rover, just like everyone on Instagram (now it seems more realistic to own a fake Chanel from Tenerife and a bike). But, it seemed like the universe was aligning for me in perfect symmetry. I got the degree and I got the internships with my dream companies. So everything was perfect, right?

Wrong.

Like a sickness, unease began to bubble inside. I realised quickly that long-term, this wasn’t the career for me. It’s hard to describe how exactly I knew, but after each day, I didn’t feel that burst of pride from my work or that sparkly buzz from doing something you love.

The feeling was like a shattering of glass. The meticulous plans that I had made over the years were for nothing, and I was at a loose end. During my undergrad, I realised that my degree would never come to fruition, this time I didn;t have options neatly tucked away. They had all been exercised to depletion.

I was completely and utterly lost.

Related: Tell FOMOOMG to GTFO

New opportunities

They say when one door closes, another one opens. One would never think that McDonald’s cancelling caramel sundaes would put me on a boat setting sail down a completely different river. But it did. Something wonderfully unexpected and miraculous happened all at once, and now I am here doing this. Telling you through words. And I get the pride and that sparkle from the moment I walk in the door.

However, my situation made me think of the pressures we put on those #CareerGoals and trajectories. We are ashamed to say that our chosen career isn’t all as shiny as it seems. Afraid that people will look at us, shaking their heads saying we should have known better or that we have ultimately failed at being alive. Having the dream career equates to having your life ‘sorted’. But tell me the number of people who feel lost in their jobs, and don’t feel like their life is any type of being together?

Related: Five Irish businesswomen weigh in on the so-called ‘work-life balance’

Now you know

We are programmed to think that we need to work in what we studied in college and we have to stay in one job forever. Realising that a job isn’t for you is positive because now you know. People change, and the career that you so desperately wanted before, may not be what you need now. Not knowing what you want to do with your career can be a gift, you are free to make mistakes and change your decisions; because that is life. Failure is a common ground we all walk on and most of these failures should not even be categorized as consequential incidences at all.

Making career goals and wanting to be the next #GIRLBOSS is terrific but don’t let them dictate your mindset. Sometimes, you need to let go of the control and let life guide you. Make plans but use them as a guide, not as the Bible.

So, the career path isn’t really turning out the way you might have liked, and the real Chanel is too far out of your reach? Don’t be downtrodden. Lift your head up, and open yourself up to opportunities and make new options until you find the perfect fit. It may take months or years but, until then, wear your fake Chanel from Tenerife with pride.

And one day soon, it may just be real.

 

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