Don’t take your career too seriously

I know that might sound stupid. It might sound shallow and contrarian but it took me 10 years to realize this. My early career was a mess. My early career was full of meaningless breaks to find a meaning, and mindless job hopping. Few jobs down the line, I realized a very fundamental truth about myself. And I am sure this truth can be extended to many others as well. There are fundamentally three things I wanted in my career of choice.

  1. The opportunity should align with my core skills/liking and competencies.
  2. It should be fun (new possibilities ) and good, supportive and fun people working around me.
  3. Good money.

After 10 years, when I look back here is how I translate the list:

  1. Career requirements should be stuff I already know: things which I was best at and things which I was comfortable doing.
  2. Career environment should be the way I imagined it to be with the right kind of people I was comfortable working with.
  3. Last but not least ( may not apply to everyone). I needed just the right amount of money to make my life more comfortable and perhaps exiting.

And here was the common denominator for all the above translations:” Comfortable”. 

I wanted to play in a predictable environment with my own rules. 

And as you might know, Life is not a fair game, you don’t make the rules, the world does. Your employer makes the rules for you. The economy does. The supply, demand does.

The odds of getting what you don’t want in life are way too higher (10X higher in some cases) than what you really want.

Now I am not old enough to give any more Gyan here. I am still figuring out a way to accomplish all of the above but here is a solid realization I got that can work and is working for me in the recent past.

I divide life into three spheres. I take a day as a unit.

  1. You spend 8 hours sleeping.
  2. You spend 8 hours doing what you want, maybe spending time with your loved ones and pursuing your hobbies.
  3. And you spend 8 hours working or pursuing your career.

Most people choose the sphere of career to define the other two very important spheres of the day. What your career or day job can give you is only money to maintain the other two spheres and nothing beyond that. Variables around the sphere of career are mostly beyond your control because we live in a very unpredictable world. Now we can idealize and change jobs and feel sorry about it only to destroy your other two spheres. Or we can stop taking our careers too seriously and treat it as a utility which feeds the other two spheres.


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