Ready Player One
On the first day of school in Sub-A, six-year-old me had a bit of a breakdown.
I thought for sure I would be able to read as soon as I picked up a book but alas––as these things go––it was not meant to be. When I got home, my mother gave me a hug and told me not worry because when I was all grown up I could be whatever I wanted to be.
I remember her saying, ‘a ballerina, a fireman, an astronaut, even a unicorn’ if I wanted.
Fast forward a decade or two and I can safely say that being told you can be whatever your heart desires is liberating––but also daunting at the same time. Essentially it means that it’s up to you to find one career (out of hundreds, maybe thousands) to be your dream job, although the notion seems to leave many of us with no idea where to begin looking.
Think of your career as a marathon: you set off at the start and run along until you reach the finish line at the end––which––usually––is your destination or dream job.
The problem is we’re told that we should never settle for a job or career that doesn’t fulfil us and make us happy, which means we’re always searching for a destination we’re ill-equipped to find.
Do you know what makes you happy? Sad? How about what gives you meaning? A lot of people don’t and without this knowledge they aren’t able to identify what their destination is or how to get there.
Trial and Error
It’s incredibly difficult to figure out what makes you tick but the longer you run the more likely you are to learn more about yourself.
You might not know this now but you are your own biggest resource.
A simple way to start tapping into it, is to open a memo on your phone and write down things that make you happy, give you meaning in the workplace––and of course, everything that doesn’t.
You’ll soon start to realise if you are in the right place for the time being or whether to start looking elsewhere. The key is to continue learning and growing because the only constant is change.
It sounds a little clichéd but work, like life, is about the journey and not necessarily the destination.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have goals or think of the future––the opposite––just don’t get too hung up if you aren’t quite there yet.
Things are changing at such a rapid pace that it presents the unique opportunity to fully embrace the journey. It means we are no longer boxed into one category and have the freedom to take whatever learnings, experiences and skills we have and apply it, however we see fit.
We need to embrace the fluidity of life and realise that the pressure to find a dream job is something we often put on ourselves.
It’s a construct that is forever changing as we learn and grow.
After my mom spoke to me that day, I decided that I wanted to be a vet, but as the years went on I realised that it wasn’t my destination. I know I love animals but I haven’t figured out what to do with this knowledge, yet––and I’m okay with that. Maybe one day I will, or maybe I won’t.
As Winnie the Pooh once thoughtfully said, ‘Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.
Juliet Biden is a Strategist & the Creative Studio Manager at The Fort.