When I was young I can recall not knowing what profession I’d end up in. Frankly, I didn’t think about it much. I just moved forward doing what I was doing. That happened to be in sales and customer service.
Enough hours and sales dollars later, corporate leadership took notice. Management was the next logical step, so I was promoted into a career path from what looked like just a basic job with no future.
Managing came with benefits and a modest livable wage. My peers and superiors respected me. College graduates worked under me making significantly less money. By all outward appearances I was successful. . .
A couple terminations and rebounds later, I recognized I wasn’t happy. I was neither satisfied or fulfilled. I was merely complacent and coasting.
This caused me to rethink my path. I stepped down from management and back into sales, carrying the skills and ownership I had acquired into my next role. I crushed all expectations and goals put forth there as well.
I made more money than previously before by double, but I was as miserable as I ever had been. My brain and intestinal fortitude allowed me to keep steam up, but my body began hinting that it’s willingness to work long weeks standing on hard floors was coming to an end. I self-medicated. Worst of all, I brought stresses and frustrations home to my family.
Internally, I knew I was miscast but I didn’t act on my instincts by seeking out an alternative career path. However, I did begin learning new skills and reading books that allowed me to see outside of my own paradigm. The writing was on the wall, but once again I failed to act and faced yet another firing.
Since then I’ve been trying on new hats; writing, hospitality, and most recently blue collar work. Externally and possibly societally, it may appear to be steps backward in terms of career progression, but I’ve never felt as comfortable or happy with the work I’m doing. I’ve never been more satisfied. No longer do I wake up in the morning dreading the day. I am consistently challenged in positive ways. I’m not exposed to greed or toxic competitiveness. Best yet, I leave my work at work at the end of each day.
Certainly I miss comforts of expertise and competence built from experience, but those will come with time. I miss the feeling that I will undoubtedly be successful, but I love learning and the knowledge that I can do anything I set my mind to.
Everyone’s heard those obnoxious people who say, If you do what you love then you’ll never work a day in your life. I’m finally recognizing there’s truth in the statement. I’m enjoying my new work and the company cultures I’m surrounding myself with. Perhaps it’s just the honeymoon phase and I’ll eventually become tired and frustrated again. For now, it seems like getting out of sales and into what I’m doing was a move I should’ve made years ago. I make less money and am at the bottom of the rankings, but I’ve never been more pleased with my career path than I am now.
So if you’re tired, frustrated, and stressed about your job–or worse yet complacent and content–I recommend taking a hard look at what else is out there. What else would you really like to do?. You’ll thank yourself for it later, as I’m doing now.