Are you throwing away your career?

by Barrie Hopson on June 14, 2010 · 6 comments

in job search,New ways of working,passion,The Book

This is the title of a great posting from Marianne Cantwell and if you do not look at her blog you should. Marianne wrote a short piece for us for our book and she has given us permission to reproduce an edited version of this posting. I especially just love her comment that, ‘I’ve thrown away my career so many times I should be fined for littering’. So over to Marianne:

“You consider changing career, and people warn you against taking the ‘risk’.

“Jumping around looks bad on your CV”.

“It’s a REALLY hard industry to break into… besides, you have a great career already”.

I’ve heard all those things and more. In fact, I’ve thrown away my career so many times I should be fined for littering:

THROW 1: When graduating from high school I decided to not capitalise on the marks that would get me into medicine or law. I was told I was throwing my future away by pursuing a pointless ‘fun’ degree: “you’ll regret this forever, you can never go back”.

A few years down the line, I loved my field of study so much I worked incredibly hard, and had offers of a promising academic career. Suddenly my ‘detractors’ were 100% behind me and my ‘respectable’ path.

THROW 2: However, then I went travelling around Europe (it’s an Aussie thing). When I got to London, I loved it and decided to stay for a while longer and break into media.

Oh dear. What about the academic career? The same people said I was ruining my life (again).

But then I established a ‘hot’ (but soul destroying) career in television for a Very Big Company. My ‘play it safe’ crowd were my fans now. They LOVED that I had a safe and clear career path.

THROW 3: Do you think that lasted? Nope! I decided to ditch media altogether… and my safety-first crowd went into meltdown….

Did I become homeless? No! I re-branded myself, and landed a role as a director in a new and exciting City consultancy. Ooh, suddenly the detractor-crew were on board again.

THROW 4: When I quit that to become a career coach, my ‘play-it-safers’ collapsed at the pain of it all. Why would you throw away the money, the kudos, the job title, the progression… oh god, everything… to pursue a crazy dream about ‘helping people be happy’ and working from your laptop on a beach? Insane!

But you know what? By that time, I stopped caring about those people’s opinions. Which was the right move, because, well, you know what happened next.

As soon as I became successful, the ‘conventional’ crew were behind me again.

When I am interviewed about careers in the Times, or appear on television talking about career change, or when I am asked to discuss writing a book/planning a TV show in this field, suddenly the very people who said “that’s crazy, it’s just too hard” are right behind me

It’s like they forgot their premonitions of doom and failure.  What if I had listened to these detractors?

Well, I’d be a very bad doctor (scary for us all), a frustrated academic, or one of those incredibly beaten down unhealthy-looking people who spend their lives in an airless office, wondering how a job in a cool-sounding company can be so DULL in reality.  I’d be bitter and envious of people who got to gallivant around having coffee with fabulous thinkers and authors all day. I’d be living for the weekends while my life ebbed away.  That is a MASSIVE price to pay for listening to someone else’s fears.

Are you currently paying heed to people who say your dream of career change is not possible? Do you believe the myth that you might be ‘throwing it all away’?  It’s time to stop that – take it from a non-doctor: listening to (secretly scared) risk-averse detractors is not only pointless, it’s bad for your health.”

Great advice. You can read more of Marianne’s writing at Free Range Humans

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