I have dreadfully muddled up this editor’s letter.
I have started, stopped, re-wrote, botched and began again more times than I can count.
And now I’m on a train and I know Linne is going to text me at any moment to ask how it’s going because she needs to gracefully proof-read it and fix all my awful, sloppy typos before it goes live tomorrow morning.
So I’m going to do what I always do when I’m stuck. I’m going to make a list. A list of the things I know to be true of a career.
And look, I’m only 32, so I’m sure there’s much more to come. But this is what I’ve learned thus far.
1. It’s okay to not have a career. You can simply have a job that affords you the life you want to lead. It is completely acceptable to not be utterly inspired by your career, but to instead work hard at a job that lets you pursue your passions outside of the nine-to-five. Don’t believe this “one must love what they do” millennial hype we now live in. You must find a way to love your life, not what you do.
2. Your career is not a ladder, it’s Chutes and Ladders. That is to say you will not always be moving up. You will be moving up and down and sideways and maybe what feels like in circles for a bit. But you will be moving. And wherever there is movement, whether it’s up or down, there are lessons to be learned. And over time, you’ll find your overall trajectory to be on the up and up.
3. Before you decide you need a new job, get a horse. Okay, I know I have to explain this one. I received this advice from a man in a bar after I complained to him about feeling stuck in my career and possibly wanting to change jobs. He told me to get a horse. Not an actual horse (unless I wanted one), but a hobby that makes you feel as free as riding a horse. Because jumping from job to job, without a horse in your life, will be akin to jumping from patch to patch of quicksand. Having hobbies completed unrelated to your career will not only strengthen your abilities in your job, but they will strengthen your character. Asking someone about their hobbies in an interview is always the way I quietly ask about their character.
4. Your self-worth is independent to the success of your career. Prior to being hired on at DORÉ, I spent a year freelancing. I didn’t opt into the freelance life. I was forced into it when I struggled to find a full-time position. During that year, I watched my self-worth plummet to a place I barely recognize today. At the end of that year of freelancing, I acquired a job at DORÉ and my self-worth pole-vaulted back to a recognizable place. Watching that yo-yo effect of my self-worth actually taught me the most important thing about my career: that my self-worth is not tied to the success of my career.
While we continue to explore all things career this month on DORÉ, please, please remember your self-worth is not tied to the success of your career. It is the lesson I believe is the most important to learn.