Monday, 16 March 2015

Letting go of your career

Simply because I do not like the word, letting go of my career was less challenging than you might imagine. All that 'careering' gave me a pretty serious case of burn-out and I was all too ready to let the whole sorry burden fall from my shoulders.

Of course it hasn't come without its anxieties, money of course being the biggest one. But the funny thing is, once I set myself afloat at the whim of universal benevolence somehow I've always had more than enough.

Traveling to South East Asia was a good example of this. Within an hour of arriving in the town where I was to stay for the coming month, I had seen a poster advertising for someone to work in a guesthouse for room and board. And after this situation became untenable I sowed the seed to do astrology and tarot readings and this became the seed of a new enterprise that is now bearing fruit.

I do not see this newest venture as a new career however. The difference is that it is done in a spirit of playfulness. I like to earn money from it, but I will not stress myself unduly or turn on the hard sell to do so. This is a world away from the ten page proposals I would routinely submit to potential clients and funding bodies. Phew! What a bore...

And then the stress! Deadlines, regulations, bureaucracy. All tethers I can well do without!

Debt can be an especially strong tie to your career and one I have determinedly refused to accept. It's funny how all these bonds are self chosen - we literally sign our life away with the simple everyday choices we make, from enrolling our child in school to signing that mortgage paper. Every day we enslave ourselves a little more!

Many people pursue a career thinking that it will increase their status and influence within a community or network. Well weirdly enough my networks has grown markedly since abandoning this silly illusion and I find myself continually meeting people with whom I can collaborate in exciting, effective ways.

Letting go of your career is especially challenging when you have come to identify it with who you are. To find out if this is true of you, ask yourself whether you think of yourself as your job title, for example as 'a teacher' or 'an artist'. In such cases you are pretty strongly attached to your career and letting it go might cause you some discomfort.

Note that I do not suggest that you stop doing what it is their vocation to do. A vocation is very different to a career. One's vocation is the gift they give to the world, their niche within the social ecology. But unlike a career it is not something one has to strive for. It just happens naturally as we move with purpose through the world.

Letting go of my career was one of the most freeing things I ever did. It's been over three years now and I've never once regretted it :)

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