Balancing your life and career goals
Those of you who know me best might question whether I ought to be offering career advice.
On the one hand I have never attempted to make my way to the top in a single field let alone inside a company, but on the other hand I have managed to achieve a reasonably good level of work-life balance.
To achieve the latter, I advanced my career without allowing myself to develop rigid ideas about what it should be like or how often I needed to move forward.
To be completely transparent, this mindset has resulted in a very eclectic career path which so far has included everything from real estate agent to perfume barista, innkeeper, newspaper columnist, life coach, radio host and company owner.
Having said this, I have received interesting opportunities, travelled to interesting places to do interesting things, and worked with a huge variety of people from all walks of life all the while maintaining time to pursue my three passions in life — painting, writing and spending time in the natural world.
Like many university graduates, I did once launch myself into the corporate world with the very naďve notion that I wanted to be a vice-president by the age of forty. I say naďve, because the more I got a look at what other people put themselves through to propel themselves up the corporate ladder, the less I wanted it.
In my mind, what’s the point of working until 10pm five nights a week and missing dinner with your family, giving up your weekends, or scheming to out-do your peers for the sake of more money if you have no free time to spend it, or no friends to enjoy it with?
Don’t get me wrong. Working to achieve a stable income that meets your needs is essential, particularly if you are raising a family.
But, be very clear with yourself whether you are working to achieve career success and a life that truly makes you happy, or you are simply caught on a treadmill chasing promotions or opportunities for extra money to pay for the endless amounts of stuff you are buying to make up for the fact that you really don’t have a life outside your job.
If you are getting a tight knot in your stomach just reading this, you might want to take some time to consider whether a complex and costly lifestyle really is the best way to achieve success in life.
What would need to change in order for you to work fewer hours and make it home for dinner most nights? What would you need to give up in order to accept a job that you truly loved? How could you bring more balance to your lifestyle?
And most importantly, when you look back on this phase of your life ten years from now, will you be happy with the choices you have made, or wish you had found a way to spend more time with your family and pursuing your passions in life?
Setting life goals is a worthwhile exercise — providing they are in sync with reality, family commitments and the need to enjoy your life today, tomorrow and in the future. It’s never too late to bring more balance to your daily existence.
•Robin Trimingham is an author and thought leader in the field of retirement who specialises in helping corporate groups and individuals understand and prepare for a new life beyond work. Contact her at www.olderhoodgroup.com, 538-8937 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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