If you are like me, you have put enormous pressure on yourself to succeed. I’m not talking, “oh I would like a corner office one day.” I’m talking about, “I want to be rich and successful with statues erected in my honor, all by the time I reach 30.”
Ambition is a strange thing. It captures the depths of your soul and tells you that you can’t grow as a person unless your ambitious monster is fed. You aren’t worthy unless you get that raise. You won’t find love unless you have a new title.
What happens then, when the career you attended college for, the one you have moved across the country, broken up with good people, cried in the bathroom of your office for, isn’t the right fit anymore? The struggle to shift gears and switch career paths is a difficult one, to say the least. There will likely be a lot of ice cream involved and long conversations about the meaning of life with your best friend. Mostly, you just feel as if you are giving up on your dream. I mean, after all, IT’S YOUR DREAM!!
WHY IS THE WORLD BITCH-SLAPPING ME IN THE FACE?!
That’s the feeling that persisted when I chose to jump ship from career number one and dangle my toes into the shallow end of career number two. It was a new pool full of popular cliques, with new terms, skills and strange abbreviations.
The hardest part is the breakup. Like any relationship, and in my case, an abusive relationship between my first chosen field and me, the breakup was drawn out and tumultuous. You’re going to feel like an imposter when you start applying to jobs in a new industry.
But here’s the thing, the first step truly is the hardest. The second you decide to dabble in new possibility is the second your imagination takes over. The ball-and-chain that connects you to your original, one-dimensional path, breaks off. Then, you see it. A new life, a new dream and a new understanding that being single minded to the point of career insanity isn’t always the best method.
I cannot say whether switching careers in my late 20s was the smartest decision. I can say, it was the one in which I ultimately found the most happiness. I let myself grow and understand the world in a new way. Most of all, I learned to look outside of myself and judge a little less and learn a little bit more.
My biggest fear was that I would lose my ambition if I veered from my original path. What I found instead, was that my ambition only grew in a more understanding way. It was no longer the insatiable monster I knew it to be; instead, it felt as if it took a Xanax and learned to tread new waters with curiosity and excitement instead of fear and submission.