Working in the corporate world made me feel some kind of way; I wasn’t ambitious enough, I wasn’t money or career focused enough and I wasn’t enough. Feeling like a lazy underachiever, getting by in a marketing role on a wing and a prayer made me felt lost and worthless. I didn’t suffer from imposter syndrome, I was an imposter, it was clear I didn’t belong in that environment, which, for me personally, was toxic. Taking a leap of faith from that world into the unknown abyss was scary, euphoric and one of the best things that could of happened to me.
I still find myself mindlessly perusing LinkedIn posts and various blogs, sneaking a look through the “business world” window like a peeping Tom and still, I am overcome with the same wave of negativity I felt when I was actually in that environment. All I see is talk of 16-hour work days, no time for a lunch break ’cause of back-to-back meetings, securing some massive deal someone had many sleepless nights over, getting home and working on the side gig ’til 3am, then up again at 7am for the fulltime job — fair play and well done to those who do that, I’m not diminishing or disrespecting anyone’s achievements in any way, but I’d like to see an alternative life path and mindset being promoted alongside that narrative. Here are 3 lifestyle choices I’d like to see celebrated and normalised more often too:
It’s okay to not have a “side hustle”
Having your own business, being an entrepreneur or a side gig is brilliant, I really admire those who hold down a full time job, then still muster the motivation and energy to pursue their own dream is inspiring. It’s also cool to have the one job, finish work, come home and fulfil other passions that aren’t work or business orientated. For me, I chose long walks with the dog, watercolour painting and spending time with my partner over building my own empire. I also value my 8 hours of sleep a night, 3 meals a day and down time far too much to sacrifice that for anything.
Chilling out and being unproductive is Healthy
I see countless videos of people promoting their daily routines that guarantee to boost productivity (you know the kind, the people that seem to take an entire day just to prepare for the day) and honestly, just seeing someone else talk of their everyday rituals and habits can be exhausting. You want to wake up at 1pm, lounge about in your underwear and watch YouTube tutorials on how to cut your own bangs for the best part of the day? That’s perfectly fine. Don’t feel guilty or like you don’t do enough with yourself on your days off. Your down time is yours to utilise as you wish. Something that makes you feel relaxed and recharged is not unproductive; if your mind and body are calling out for a much needed duvet day, then you get yourself back under those sheets and get reacquainted with your pillow!
You don’t need to “climb the ladder” if you don’t want to
There are so many other ways to measure your success other than how far you get up that metaphorical ladder we seem to hear so much about. If that’s not your calling or how you envision your journey, than don’t feel the pressure to embark on that path. Life is too short to find yourself stuck halfway up a ladder you don’t really want to climb. I can’t help but feel there is a stigma attached to having certain job roles at a certain age, and it makes me so sad. When my time came to an end in my previous marketing role, my ex-boss said to me “If you end up working in retail, I’d be so disappointed!”…ehhh, why?? Working in any role, at any age is admirable to me. If you’re paying the bills, happy and living your best life, why does it matter? It’s fine to be a waitress post 35, it’s fine to stock shelves up until retirement — why are we only deemed successful if we have a 6-figure salary and a fancy job title? Every person in any job role is helping to keep the world turning, and that is awesome.
I believe, if you’re happy, confident, know yourself and what you want, whatever that may be, then you are well and truly winning at life.