The other day, a friend asked, “so what are you going to do next in your career?”. I was stumped… Ever since I began my career, I’ve always been thinking ahead. I’ve always had a game plan and a clear idea of what my next position or job will be. Of course, those plans have never come through because life tends to throw curb balls at you when you least expect it, but having a plan and a goal always keeps me going. So, I started to wonder, if I don’t have a plan or a goal further than my current one, what’s going to happen?
A few years ago, I took a mindfulness course and let me tell you, I’m TERRIBLE at mindfulness. I’m always in my head thinking about the past, future and anything but what’s happening now. My dad is this way too, and now in his older age I see that he’s not the happiest, and I’m trying to avoid getting to that point. When I realized that at work I was no longer planning, I thought “am I being mindful, or complacent?”.
I can’t yet answer this question, but I’m worried. Does me not having a plan mean that I’ve given up on career/life progression? Am I at the highest point in my career that I want to reach? Is this it for me, at less than 30 years old? I sure hope not! But I’m not entirely sure where to go next. I feel like I’m about to reach a crossroads in my life, but I’m not quite there yet. And I like having a map, even if at the end something ends up blocking my desired path and I end up having to take another. Because without a map, I don’t even know which way is forward.
After 6 years working in the same industry, an industry that while unperfect, was ideal for me, I made a radical change to come work for family. And while I don’t have many complaints about my current job, I feel like I’ve completely gotten off my path and walked into an unknown forest. Where am I? What am I doing? Where do I go from here?
There is one crossroads I can sort of see though, and it’s the following:
Option A: Have a MEGA successful career where I maybe won’t earn as much or have a lot of flexible time, but I’ll be doing something I love and excelling at it.
Option B: Do something that I’m OK with, get decent pay and have more work flexibility.
To some, option B might be the obvious answer, because success isn’t everything, but in my family, it is. And success is important to me. I know it can be measured in lots of different ways, but to me, it’s always meant C-suite positions, name recognition and legacies. To others it may mean financial stability and family. But is my own definition of success changing now that I am on path B?