What comes to mind when you think about the word ‘career’? Money, security, achievement, progress?
It seems there’s a shift happening; a change in the way we view the world of work. In many respects it’s being driven by the younger generations. Where we once sought hierarchy, respect and a job for life, they seek collaboration, trust and meaning. Gone are the days where you’re respected because of the ‘label’ you wear. It’s all about actions now. Terms like “servant leadership” are becoming commonplace, with people seeking empowered, values-led working environments.
More generally, the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown living, global warming and other national and international concerns have caused many of us, young and old, to stop and question who we are, where we’re headed and what we value most in life.
There’s a growing sense of opportunity ahead of us, if we’d just reach out and take hold of it together. Money, fame and power seem less attractive than they once were. The same goes for “career”.
We’re done expending our energy making others rich and ourselves unfulfilled; where’s the colour and purpose in that?
As we approach a season of renewed functionality, some will look back and wonder why they slept-walked through so much of their lives – driven by worry of what others think, with life decisions made on fear not hope.
Listening to the birds
I left my safe career back in Sept 2019, not knowing what was just around the corner. You can read about this in Listening to the birds. It’s been a rollercoaster since then, with a lot of introspection and personal honesty needed along the way.
Someone once said to me “only you are responsible for your own happiness – only you can make you happy”. They were right, to an extent. We can’t control everything going on around us, but we can choose the way we react and respond to it.
Learning appreciation and gratitude has been a key part of this for me.
Not just about me
True life (I believe) is cultivated through investing in the wellbeing of others, in community and recognition of our interdependency. This is where real purpose and identity can be found.
As we exit the pandemic, some are predicting a “great resignation” – people waking up to life in a new way and wanting to explore something different in their career.
Hmm, there’s that word again – career. Perhaps we can move on from this, too. What would you replace it with?
Perhaps the best life advice I’ve received was not advice but a question… “How might your life be different if you based your decisions on hope rather than fear?”
This question invariably brings discomfort, as it prods and provokes things we don’t want to think about. But, it’s a discomfort worth sitting with. Sit there for long enough and you may start to see your future and what really matters in a wholly different light.