I probably mentioned this before: both Clover and I work in HR – this is how we first met. Our job has provided us not only with expertise in business meetings, but also with a privileged insight into the souls, desires and motivations of the candidates (read people) we’ve met. Due to my recent personal tribulations related to my professional present and future, I came to give a lot of thought to finding the answer to one big question which would bring me the solution, aka the freedom. This leads me to my favorite part of an interview: assisting people in finding what they are searching for and trying to guide them towards it. A friend of mine has recently told me that she was in love with her line of work and totally surprised that she was paid to do what she loved. Who wouldn’t like this, instead of feeling like they’re slowly dying? I don’t know what everybody out there does, but I would love to know what makes you tick, what is it that you really want? I am not talking about career plans, organizational development programs so on and so forth, working in a professional environment bu…..it, but about the real inner voice. I didn’t think there would be so many people out there with a career or a job that is just not consistent with what they feel and want. Top managers, middle managers, rising stars, they all seem to get to a stage in life when they start searching. Probably that is why we hear of more and more former corporate managers starting little entrepreneurial companies that have little to do with profit, but mostly with passion.
For those that aren’t part of the few lucky ones who already know what their heart desires, my first advise is to have a sincere chat with themselves. To ask themselves if they are really willing to play the corporate game or not, which compromise is emotionally affordable, how much do they want their career to fill their life. For me, it’s getting clearer that I simply and equally hate and dread the “game”. The pressure to play it and to make others play it, too. The obligation to excel and to outperform myself whilst estranging from my real self, my true nature, my real desires. I can play the game to a certain extent – but beyond that certain limit I feel it’s tearing at my hard-earned balance, it alienates me from my very self. So here it is, out in the open: my true aspirations and desires are deeply human and not professional. I do not want professional fulfillment and I am not looking to evolve to a higher career level. I want the freedom to be me. I want a job and not a career.
So what would be the next step? Figuring out what my aspirations translate into in real life, what corresponds to my desires from the professional pool – not working is not an option – and how to get there. My answer: either something to do with my hands (I love sewing and considered taking a specialized class) or an office job, a support job. Probably secretarial work or something in a publishing house or being a clerk or a librarian. Time off after work. No pressure of knowing the company could fall, depending on my work. No pressure to make the impossible happen. Living. Breathing without stress of the next day, not concerned when thinking the next day will be just the same, all over again. Yes, this is it. I am ready to accept it: I am ready for a simpler life.
There is a question I ask my candidates about the situation which haunts them: what would it be like if it was just as they wanted it to be? Figuring out my own answer involved lucidity and reason – actually, it wasn’t an easy process, it was rather like a cold shower. I accepted the strong probability that my income would be lower – possibly much lower than my present one, with its procession of outcomes, which can be really frustrating. There is also the probability that it would still not feel like I found what I’ve wanted, we all know that imagining is one thing and reality is…. well… a different story. There would also be the opinion of those around me, thinking I am a coward, that I’ve gone mad or that I just haven’t been good enough in my career. I am ready to just give it all up. I only care about my self-respect, my sanity, my soul. It would probably feel like freedom, like a life of possibilities. But I will probably also feel lost at the beginning, just like when you finally get what you have been searching for years and years and ask yourself: now what? Yes, that will be another big question.
For now, alea iacta est, my friends! I’ve taken the first step, now let’s just see where the road leads me :).