How on earth did I get here?

I was never meant to get trapped in the corporate life. Indeed, by anyone else’s standards I’m not trapped anywhere. I’ve been in a corporate job for six months – hardly a lifetime wasted away in a cubicle.

But boy oh boy, six months is all I need to know that I my ‘bliss’ will not be found in a Chanel suit and the corner office.

When I decided I wanted my current job I talked to my family and friends, lecturers and mentors and while everyone was supportive and excited, I also received a few looks and words that said, “really? You want that job?”

There were a whole lot of reasons why I wanted this job. Number one on the top of the list – it’s a really great job.

But if I’m honest, there were probably a few other pull factors that enticed me to go for it. Are any of these playing a role in your career decisions?

Prestige. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in a fancy suburb, or go to a fancy school, my family isn’t ‘connected’, I don’t have ready access to the upper echelons. There is something so compelling about being able to prove myself in these circles. I can’t tell you where I work, but just to give you an idea, ‘elite’ is a word thrown about the office on a daily basis. (Interesting side note – according to this test, prestige is my primary trigger).

Security. A regular source of income sounds so glorious when you don’t have it. I know I’m not the only person to have said, “I’ll just do this for two years, get myself set up and then do what I really want to do.” But the trade off is not small – 38 hours (at least) of your week working on someone else’s stuff, living and breathing a world that’s not yours. Sometimes I don’t recognise myself while I’m pulling myself into an acceptable shape for the office. All that pretending – I’m sure it’s taking it’s toll. Realistically, if I could find a salaried position that didn’t stifle the hell out of me I’d take it! Are you kidding, I turn up, you put money into my account – it’s so good! But until I find that amazing position, the trade off is too big.

Taking a rest. This one is really weird, but there’s something about getting a regular job that you can explain to your aunts and uncles, where the biggest part of the battle is showing up by 9am each day, that sounds so easy.

If you’ve ever had the freedom to do exactly what you want to do, you might recall that it can be pretty tiring. Your success is in your hands. There is no one to hide behind, and there’s so much that you should be doing but aren’t. “Have you posted on your blog today?” “Have you had a piece published this month?” “Have you launched that product?” “Are you going to that networking event?” With an office job, you can phone it in from time to time and everything is fine – you’re just a regular person living a regular life. It’s also much easier to explain a way a bad week at the office. Having a bad week when you’re supposedly living your dream – bring on the crisis of confidence!

If I know all this how did I get here?
It should be simple to make good decisions for ourselves, but we humans don’t seem to be very good at it. If we were any good at it we wouldn’t need saviours like Martha Beck and Brene Brown to remind us to ‘be our true selves’. Once my mum said to me, “I’m so tired of hearing about ‘be your true self’. Who else am I going to be?!” Oh mother, that’s one huge can of worms you just opened.

All the stuff I mentioned above about prestige and security and money – I know all that already and I’ve been down the path enough to know that none of those things are important enough to make wearing a suit to an office a good idea for me.

I was never meant to get trapped in an office and it’s STILL tricky to release myself from its clutches. What about all those folks whose families want them to be lawyers, or those people who have invested years in being an actuary. What about those people with kids to support and mortgages to pay. Oi vey, for their sakes as well as mine, I have no excuse to stay trapped in an office!


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