I’ve been tackling this question for what seems like ages. Some people work to live, others live to work. I’d like a bit of both, really. I know that even a dream job has its bad days, but 8.5 hours a day seems like an awful lot of time to spend doing something that no longer motivates you. Really though, it’s been on my mind for the past three-four years, this question of work to live or live to work.
When I finished university, my first true love pulled me to Ottawa because, you know, long-distance sucks. I got a permanent job within two months (what seemed like ages) and have been here ever since. I look back on my swift, confident decision making then. I don’t think I had any idea of how much that decision to move to Ottawa versus Toronto or Montreal would affect the rest of my career in my twenties. Had I known that the first few steps you take into the working world can really define a big part of your career path for years to come, I may have considered the move more carefully. Bahh, you can’t go back right? And I certainly don’t regret making a decision for love, but now I find myself in a great, secure, comfortable job in a supportive work environment and I am really torn about whether I am happy working to live or if I want to work what I live, big difference.
What do I mean by that? I mean spending every day doing something that you love, something that has always interested you. Lots of people do this, and lots of people don’t. My dad left his desk job at the age of 39 to pursue his childhood dream of becoming an air force pilot. Others choose to stay in a comfortable job that may not inspire them all that much but that pays the bills, offers security, benefits and allows them the time on weekends and on holidays to unplug and enjoy their lives outside of work. There are, of course, other people who don’t have as many options, those less fortunate than us. I am not addressing their reality, that wouldn’t be fair of me to do so, but I can address the common feeling that quite a few people around me have, a desire to work what you live, to enjoy going to work, and to really own their careers.
Working for another company may not be what I want for my next career move. More and more now, as I discover the lives of entrepreneurs, I see myself leaning towards that mysterious and oftentimes scary path. I’d like to work from home, work for myself, eventually hire a small team and every day wake up ready to tackle a new, creative project. I want to align my love for supporting eco-fashion with writing and communications. I have all of these skills, all of this experience, why not put it to good use?
Then there’s the whole aspect of being a young woman and wanting a family vs. owning a business and having it on your mind 24/7. I sure hope I can clear my mind as often as I need to throughout the day to be present for my loved ones. This is my main concern, mental space for everything. If, once in it, I realize that I can’t be as present as I wanted to me, I will leave it. Honestly, nothing is more important to me than time with family and friends.
My boyfriend and I are both at career crossroads and we also want to buy a home together in the next year. Changing careers and buying a home around the same time isn’t ideal, but I have to remind myself to cross that bridge when I get to it. My astrologer, a dear family friend, told me recently that I have to let go of that fear of not making enough money to live off of. She said that that fear is unnecessary for me and that if I can learn to set it aside and focus on my vision, it will blossom into a profitable and rewarding career. Can I just fast-forward to there please!?
When I think back to how confident I felt about the move to Ottawa, I wish I could infuse my veins with that same calm venom. I want to have the sense of freedom that I had then too. Can I really make the best decision for me when I have a family to consider now? Am I too old (at only 28) to have to sacrifice my ideal career path for the family life that I want more than anything? My future has more pieces in it to consider, more people and dreams to take care of. I know that others at my age, with even more “baggage” have made their dreams come true, and so must I.
My first step, I think, is to change my perspective. A future home, future children, these are not burdens, these are goals to strive for, these are motivators to succeed. That fear I feel inside, that is another sign that my vision is worth bringing to life. The worry of being overwhelmed with work? If I’m doing what I love, it won’t be a burden. The torment that’s going on in my mind, that’s the thrill and energy of life that propels us all to make the most of our days here on this tiny blue dot. Got it Mal? Got it!?
I wish I could pour a whole bucket of calm, monk-like wisdom and serenity into my head. I’ll have to do with these few positive thoughts and take it day by day. So, tell me, what are your career fears?