Am I on the right career path? (Should I do something new)

Photo by Saulo Mohana / Unsplash

Go to school. Study. Go to University. Study more. Get a degree. Pose for a picture in a funny hat and cloak pretending you’re at Hogwarts. Get a job. Start a career. This seems to be the route most of us were subconsciously guided down throughout our life. 👨🏼‍🎓

From our parents’ perspective, this was what success looked like. This was security. This was how life was planned. Work for one company for 40 years and then retire. A traditional career. You were told to aim high. Doctor. Lawyer. Engineer. Accountant. 👩🏽‍⚕‍

Yes, we got told these jobs paid a lot. But is it what we truly want to do for the rest of our lives? Were we just passively going down these routes as that’s what is expected from us? 💭

For me, I fell down the route I think a lot of people did. We did well in a couple of exams at school. Chose those subjects at A-Level that would give us the best shot at the best possible university. Picked a course related to the A-level we did best at. Then found ourselves paying £9,000 a year to study for a degree that few of us would say was leading us down our dream career path. Oh and of course we washed it down with a few hundred jagerbombs. 📚

Graduation with the the boys

But throughout those early years, what is our dream career path? We don’t even know who we are really. How do we know what we want to do for our working life? Did you know? How are we meant to know? 🤷🏻‍♀‍

How is 14-year-old me meant to know what he wants to do for his 40 years of working life. 27-year-old me doesn’t know what he wants from Starbucks, and he goes there literally every day. Do I try something new…? No. Not today. Let’s play it safe. Stick to what I like. Maybe we’ll pick a rouge choice tomorrow. Starting to sound like a familiar metaphor for my life decisions… ☕️

6 years into my career and I’m asking the same questions I was asking after 6 months…

Will I take a sabbatical? Of course, once I’ve finished studying for my chartership... I finished my chartership nearly 3 years ago. Have I taken a sabbatical? No. ✈️

Shall I go travelling? Of course, once I’m established in my career. Am I? Yes. Could I return to my job? I think so. Have I visited Fiji yet? Nope. 🗺

Should I move job and city? Yes, I’ve always wanted to live in London. I’ve said this since I was 21. Have you yet? No, but I’ve looked. But have you taken the risk and done it yet. Another no. 🏦

Could I try a new career? Yes. I’ve given this one a go. I’ve learned a lot and could always come back. But taking a pay cut now. With all these adult bills. That would be a bit peak. Could I afford it and what if I don’t enjoy the new thing? Or what If I’m terrible at it? 👨🏼‍💼

I’ve always been a risk averse person. Even knowing my foot is in the corporate door after my 6 years of experience that’s under my belt. I still have the voice in my head saying, ‘hmmm travelling would be nice. But, you have it so good. So simple. So easy. Do you want to risk coming back to nothing?’. ⚠️

Now I know this is all my fault. That I haven’t taken action on any of the things I want to do. But it comes back round to not knowing what I want to do with my life and what if it all goes wrong? 🤦🏼‍♂‍

Is finance what I truly see myself doing for the rest of my life? Could I take a step back and a pay cut, retrain and do something new? Do I know what I truly want to do? 📊

I’ve been lucky in the sense that money (or lack of) has never been a serious issue for me. I’m by far means not rich at all. But I’m grateful that I’ve never been in a position that I’ve had none. I’m quite responsible with money to be fair (until I have that third G&T and then its apple pay happy double tapping away). 🍸

However, the independence and responsibilities from falling down the traditional career path feels like I now I don’t have the freedom or luxury to not consider money as a barrier to making life decisions. The mortgage. The car payments. All the other bills and taxes I didn’t even know were a thing until I was an adult. 💸

Also, what if I fail in my new endeavours? How will I cope? How will I survive? This is something I want to cover all by itself in another post: Fear of failure. 🙅🏾‍♂‍

But if the COVID induced lockdown has led me to do anything, it’s to self-reflect. I’d say most of us since 2020 have begun listening to podcasts, started to read books, watch inspiring people on YouTube and maybe even have started a new business venture. I personally been motivated by seeing others take risks and make difficult life decisions. ‘Those lucky people’ look so successful and fulfilled. I wish I was like them… 🙇🏼

One of the many books I've read this year

We’ve had the time to sit and reflect on our lives. 18 months have passed, and it’s felt like our lives have been on hold. Time has been passing and we feel like we’ve just been stood still. ⏰

I’ve found that urgency, that impatience and that motivation to not spend more of my ‘young years’ complaining about ‘doing it eventually’, or ‘trying it at some point’. Have you? Life isn’t going to change unless you make it yourself. Stop waiting and start acting. 🏃🏾‍♀‍

Right. So, what are we going to do first…?

Thank you to all the feedback from my last post! Let me know what you think of this one and if you relate to the above, make sure to subscribe to the email list to get sent all my blog posts coming up. Adult mode - there is a lot to discuss! 📧
Alex Dean

Alex Dean