Lessons Learnt from 2017 | The Career Dilemma

It’s been a weird year for me. After finishing my therapy sessions right at the start of the year, I was in a much better position to shape 2017 into what I wanted it to be. I wasn’t cured – I probably never will be – but I had the strength to change my circumstances, even when it was scary.

I’d been in the same job for almost three years knowing that it wasn’t what I wanted to do for at least a year and a half. The idea of making the jump into a new job was a terrifying concept, not helped by very little self-confidence that I’d be able to get another marketing job that I’d like and that would pay me well and be something I wanted to do. It was familiar and comfortable so I stayed – until March. I went from being too worried about change to leave a job I knew wasn’t right for me, to leaving it without anything to go to. I’d spent weeks thinking on it and eventually came to the conclusion that my well-being had to come first and I wasn’t prepared to lead a life that made me unhappy all the time I had a chance to change that. So that was that. I searched for interviews as often as I could – something else I found terrifying – and eventually landed myself a social media job, starting in May. Making the change wasn’t something I took lightly, but I did the right thing. Anyway now we’re in December and I’ve found myself, until very recently, in a similar position. Well-being first, career second, and another resignation. I started to wonder if the problem was me. Maybe this is just what life is like – nobody does a job they actually like to do.

I found this whole idea very scary. Is this what life is like? Is this what it would be like forever? I found it hard to accept that to earn enough money to eventually move out I would have to do something I didn’t want to be doing, which is something I explore in this frustrated post. It felt like I was choosing between money and happiness. In light of this I made the decision that actually it was OK to earn less. So what if I’m not rich by the time I’m 25? That’s not what success is for me personally. If you can be rich and love what you do then I think that’s incredible and you’re a very lucky person, but I was never going to be truly happy if I continued to do marketing in an office, even though it paid well. Sure, I could buy clothes all the time and go for pub lunches with my colleagues regularly but if you’re not happy in your day-to-day life, then these things are just filling time anyway. So I made the decision that I would simply do what I wanted to do. As long as I can pay for my car and afford to run it, cover bills and put a little bit of money aside into my slowly-growing house fund, what does it matter?

I spent a lot of time thinking about my options: where I have experience, where I don’t, how much money I need, what I actually want to do with my days. The thought of going into another marketing job – or even an office – filled me with dread and so I ruled that out almost straight away. I had to go back to square one. It’s clear to anyone who knows me that my interest in mental health was likely to guide this job decision and I wanted to find something that allowed me to make a difference. I’ve written in the past about my passion for child mental health and I made the decision that I wanted to get a job that allows me to practice this, but the problem was that I had no experience at all.

I spoke to many recruiters and explained that I didn’t have experience but I was willing to learn whatever there was to learn and they all turned me away. One even told me to get another job in marketing. I gave up on recruitment agencies and went direct into employers and started to get some interviews, none of which were successful. I started to think that the recruiters were right – they know what they’re talking about, after all. I was becoming more and more disheartened every day, but when I walked into each and every interview I knew I just had to be in the right place. I had to keep going with this. On 4th January I start a job that’s exactly what I want. Maybe it’ll take me a little longer to move out now and I’ll have to detach myself from ASOS for a bit, but this is what I want right now. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, do what you want today. I don’t want to work all my life for a happy retirement when I might not even make it that far; I’m living for today.

Oh, and I’m also getting a book published in Summer. 2018 is lookin’ peachy.

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3 Comments

  1. December 22, 2017 / 3:26 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this. I’m so glad you found a job that you are happy with. This comes to show the importance of following your gut and never giving up. (:

    Nikki

  2. January 3, 2018 / 11:15 am

    I love this post! Last year I felt exactly the same and I too quit my job. It wasn’t making me happy, quite the opposite. I’ve always wanted to write so I thought screw it, if I don’t try now I never will. I’m hardly earning but I’m happy and I think that’s the most important thing. As you’ve proved here, determination is key and hopefully one day we’ll both get to live out our dreams ☺️ Xxx

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