I love the fact that at our age there are so many options open to us. It’s not seen as weird or flakey to change career direction, it’s seen as building your portfolio of experience. We have so many transferable skills that we can pretty much try our hand at anything, bar things like medicine or architecture that take a million years of study. And I truly believe that we need to try lots of different options, to see what fits. How do you know if a career is the right one for you until you try it? Your dream job could be completely different to how you imagined it, and yet you could end up loving something you might never have considered. But when does this career trial period of life come to an end? Is there so much choice that we never feel fully satisfied in a job because we know there are always other options for us to explore?
I’m the kind of person who lives way too much in the future, constantly thinking about exciting trips and events and future life plans. I know I need to live more in the moment and enjoy the now, but I think it’s just embedded in my personality. And it’s for this reason that no matter what I’m doing or how much I enjoy it, part of my mind is always considering other opportunities. I imagine myself in so many other situations just to distract myself from the minutiae of everyday routine. I’ll actually walk past builders and think to myself, what if that was my life. I’ll look at everyone on the tube and try and guess what they do, and then imagine myself in their shoes. Obviously I don’t want to be a builder and I definitely couldn’t be even if I tried, but the idea of a totally new different life excites me, whatever it is.
What I’m really trying to escape is routine and repetition. As soon as I’m settled in a job and a way of life, my brain has become used to that routine and is no longer whirring with the newness of it. So it needs something else to focus on. And the thing is, whatever else I did, I would go through exactly the same process. Any change in job or life is exciting for the first few months, but eventually you always settle into a routine.
So what can we do as eternal ‘flitters’, the butterflies of the career world? How do we satisfy our need for change and excitement and novelty in our job choices? I do believe that eventually we will find a life routine that makes our souls happy. It’s probably not about routine being a bad thing, it’s about the routine that you are in. Or maybe it’s about finding a job that doesn’t limit you to a specific routine, that changes daily.
Routine isn’t all about the job or career you’ve chosen, either. Your life choices that take place outside of your career play a massive part too. I think we all need to realise that finding a job and a life you really enjoy takes time, and we shouldn’t just rush from job to job without allowing ourselves to actually settle into anything. Satisfaction comes from getting really good at something, learning new things everyday, and becoming comfortable and familiar with your role and your organisation. Too quickly our mind travels to the idea of a complete life change, as soon as we get slightly bored of what we have now. Change is exhausting as well as exciting, and constantly looking for new and different things to do with our lives can’t be healthy for our minds. Allowing ourselves to enjoy the here and now will have a massive impact on our happiness and energy.
Of course, there is a definite possibility that the job you do is completely unsuited to you, and in that case you’re allowed to consider other options. But I also believe that when the time is right, opportunities will come to you. You might love the place you work but hate your role, in which case instead of flying to the other side of the world you could explore options and experiences within that organisation. You might have a hobby or skill which you never realised could actually be turned into a career. You might need to go back to studying in order to get your dream job, and that’s okay. Or you might need to take some time out of the career world to travel or volunteer in order to realise what your life calling is, and that’s okay too.
This might be a bit of a tangent and is probably a whole separate discussion, but I think the strain of living and working in London has a big influence on our wellbeing. We probably blame our jobs for our frustration with life and daily routine, but the truth is, London life is draining. We see all the opportunities for fun that London offers but we never have time to make the most of them because we’re not on holiday, we’re living a life. We feel a constant need to keep up with the hustle and bustle of London busybodies, so we’ll attempt to rent a fun flat and do fun things because YOLO but then AHH how am I ever going to buy a house and be a grown up. And then even when we find a place, no one in their twenties can afford to live as central as they would like, so we add 1-2 hours to our working day just travelling on hot sweaty tubes. Naaada fun.
This was not meant to be a rant about London, because I love it and it’s great and all. But I think we too often search for a new career because something about life isn’t satisfying us, and we don’t consider other factors. We could move from job to job within London, or any city, without finding something that sticks. Maybe we should be looking outside the box of life that we sit in and the circles we move in. Maybe we shouldn’t be afraid to take a leap and step out of our comfort zone.
Only you know what makes you happy, whether that’s the career you’re in, or the career you want, or something else entirely. All I know is constantly searching for something when you’re not sure of what probably isn’t going to lead you anywhere. We need to learn to enjoy where we are in our lives at the moment, but not be scared to embrace opportunities. Because before you know it everything will be changing and we’ll be oldies settling down, and that is scary as HELL.