Career advice about work-life balance
People often ask me what I do for a living, and what career choices have brought me down this path. Hmm where to start. Firstly, I’ve always had to work very hard for whatever I’ve wanted so there’s been lots of lessons to be learned from that in itself. However, if I have to sum up my career, I would say I’ve spent the longest time building-brands. Hard work, dedication and perseverance eventually got me head-hunted by one of Africa’s largest AD agencies. Whilst I enjoyed working in an immensely active creative space, I didn’t quite enjoy the long hours and politics that come with working in a corporate environment. Hence to pay for a career that I did want to pursue, I did the occasional hostessing work. There was also the odd brand ambassador projects I participated in for the extra money. Through all these experiences, I realized that finding the perfect work-life balance is definitely easier said than done, but with strong commitment, focus and effort it is definitely possible. And so whenever people asked me what I did for a living, I wanted to give them a rather well-rounded answer, and wrote some things down.
I felt it’s important that people see the other side. Like the journey, and the tenacity. The resilience and the sheer determination that’s truly required to chase a career that suits you in the end. Through what I wrote, I wanted those unsure about their purpose or struggling to enjoy their job to know that they’re not alone and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with earning an honest living. Whether you’re a domestic worker, an intern starting out, or a store keeper. I recall a time people felt sorry for me when I worked as a brand ambassador. Having to carry a few kilograms worth of stock and merchandise from retail store to retail store isn’t exactly as glamorous as it seems. Neither is standing for hours in heels hoping for that one sale your entire commission depends on.
In seeking the right job for me, I’d had people remind me along the way of my Post-graduate qualifications I should not have forsaken for a hostessing dig that promised to take me to the other side of the world. I even went through a phase where I didn’t feel passionate about any specific career. So I thought of focusing on my skills and my personality to allow me to do what I love. To do who I am. Sometimes this meant not fitting in anywhere. I’ve always struggled with this – wanting to belong. I’ve making mistakes and choices in the past just to fit-in and be accepted. This only changed when I started doing what I love. I forgot that I actually enjoyed my own company. I started trusting my ability to make the choices that are best for me – and if it had to include other people – they certainly had to be like-minded individuals. It is true, that your vibe attracts your tribe. The people around you can either make or break you. People who haven’t believed in you nor supported you will not start now. It taught me that relationships and boundaries DO matter.
So when people ask what I do for a living, I tell them that I’ve had the most weirdest work history, of which I’m so grateful and proud. I tell them to never be afraid to start somewhere. As good things don’t come to those who wait. Likewise, those on top of the mountain certainly didn’t fall there. I learned that pride won’t guarantee your success either. Keep your head down, dream big, take risks. Start small. Keep in mind that happiness and positivity is a conscious choice we make everyday. Some days are harder than others, but pursuing fulfillment in your work life (or life in general) definitely takes sacrifice, courage and strength.
Of-course, all these plans and ideas aren’t set in stone. Things change and sometimes, they turn out in ways we least expected them to. But I’ve learned to ask myself, if it doesn’t get me out of bed every morning, is it even worth the effort in the end? I suppose finding a career path that equates to happiness, fulfillment and success is a work in progress in its entirety. I’m also always striving for better. The one thing though, be willing to acknowledge that a journey of a thousand miles, often begins with only a single step in the right direction (of-course) 🙂