Now this may seem like I’ve got confused and written this article for the wrong blog, but I promise I haven’t. Hear me out.
For the past 3 years I have been questioning my career choice. That’s a LONG time, and it does affect my wellbeing. It wakes me up at night as I desperately try to think of ways to ‘get out’.
When I was in my last year at school, Facebook was just beginning to rear it’s head and YouTube was a novel thing where you’d upload videos you took (primarily) on your Blackberry.
We were encouraged to consider our ‘options’ whilst subtly being guided to make career choices in medicine, law, education or engineering. That was it. Entrepreneurs appeared to be few and far between and we certainly weren’t provided with a skill set in how to pursue business.
My interest laid within psychology and I still spend my days psychoanalysing (Chantelle’s version) of why people act the way they do. I freak people out with my observation skills. I ended up qualifying as a different type of healthcare professional and I spend most of my days frustrated with poor management and misuse of resources. My clients aren’t the problem but the bureaucracy is.
I still hold a substantial interest in health and wellbeing, especially the ability to empower others to look after themselves but I want to combine it with my love for social media.
I remember trying to set up a blog back in 2009 but didn’t have a clue how to go about it. It was on celebrity gossip and I was absolutely convinced I was going to get sued for some sort of slander (I’d be lucky to have 1 view a day) so I shut up shop.
Yet here we are, 11 years later and I’m still entertaining the idea of trying to set up a business and run a blog. But it’s incredibly hard when all your time and energy goes into disliking your job (although I try SO hard not to do it).
In light of the recent pandemic and the stark reminder that life is short, I’m forcing myself to put my big girl pants on and step forward. It’s so scary to express opinions when the world is keen to tear you down, but nor am I achieving much by trying to commit to a career for the next 30 years that no longer does ‘it’ for me.
Having to socially isolate and consequently the opportunity to work from home, has only cemented the fact that I need to do this for me. Not only have my productivity levels shot up in my job (that I dislike!), but I’m not tired, I’m exercising daily for an hour, I’m cooking good food (and as a byproduct reaching for less sugar) and I feel so free. All because I don’t have to walk into that office.
Now I’d like to confirm that it’s not my current role that’s the problem. I’ve had 3 different jobs in the past 3 years (same role, different locations) and the same problems keep coming up. Whether it’s me or the sector in which I work – I’m not sure. But nor can I pretend that it’s bearable.
I have tried to talk this out with ‘real people’ AKA my Mum, my husband and my friends but I feel like I get a lot of judgement for wanting to throw in the towel.
“You’ve worked so hard. Don’t give up” is a common phrase I hear.
And yes I have worked hard… I now have a BSc (Hons) and two MSCs. But what’s the point if I don’t enjoy it or get any job satisfaction? The money is okay but I’m most definitely no Richard Branson.
Minus this article being a much needed counselling session for myself, it’s also a reminder to anyone else that a job does have the potential to impact on your health and wellbeing. I am INCREDIBLY grateful that I even have a job to go to (please don’t think I’m not), but going to work is our main occupation and it forms part of your identity. It’s okay to ‘call time’ and look elsewhere and most likely the answer you are looking for won’t come from an online career quiz.
YouTube and the internet in general will most likely encourage to ring your boss right now and tell him/her you’re not coming back on Monday. That impulsive decision isn’t really going to help. We all still have bills to pay and responsibilities to adhere to. But instead of coming home at night and spending the WHOLE evening moaning about your boss/colleagues/seating/lighting/screen time/customers, split that time between having a good old rant and thinking about what you’d like to do next.
I wish I knew if this was the right decision for me. I don’t know and it’s not like a website can become successful over night (unless you’re Megan and Harry), but it’s a start.
But fundamentally it’s perfectly fine to admit that the career choice you made when you were 16, 18, 25 or 40 is no longer the right one a decade later.