Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Fear

In my recent blog post 'No More Babies For Us', I dared to mention something that some people may find a bit 'taboo'... I said one of the things that I saw as a positive outcome of our decision not to have anymore children was that I could start thinking about what I would like to do once I had a little more time (i.e when J2 goes to school or even gets his Nursery hours next year).

I could easily spend all that time maintaining the house and garden I am sure, but I am not that kind of girl (my motto : houses are to be lived in, clean and tidy yes (with clothes in the wardrobe not the bedroom chair, Dear Hubby...), but not a show home).  No I meant, would I look to go back to the world of work?  But the burning question, What Sort of Work? 

Almost all of the people I know, literally with the exception of one or two, are generally unhappy at work.  I always say that you spend the majority of your time at work and therefore you should be happy there, doing that role for 90% of the time (there are always going to be off days / an unpleasant situation or two to deal with / tasks that are not your favourite) because life is just too short.

But in the economic state we live in, it is far and wide very difficult to switch jobs, due to financial commitments, lack of roles (particularly at the moment) or just finding the time and energy to do so.  Thus, for many they stay in the same employment because they are kind of 'stuck'.  And to consider changing careers altogether?  Does it get any scarier? 

Sadly we seem to either pick or fall into an employment path at the age of 16, 18 or 21 (generally depending on how far we wish to take the education route) and feel that we have too / are forced too stay there.  Choices we make at a very young age, with no experience and very different outlooks on what we want from life, seemingly make most of us rather unhappy by the time we hit 30.

For some, like me, I was happy with my choice of career until my biological clock kicked in.  Then I was very fortunate and lucky the second time around to be able to make Motherhood as a Stay at Home Mum my new career.  But me, being the planner that I am, now know that when my last and youngest baby scoots off through the school gates, I have the chance, a rare and sacred chance to choose a new career.

The Big Question is, what will I do?  Will I fall back into what I know, on the understanding that once the novelty of a new work environment wears off, I will be as bored and frustrated as I was beginning to get before?  Will I need to try and get back into work as quickly as possible for financial reasons thus needing to go back into what I am qualified to do?  That, no one can predict.  Or will I take the opportunity that I hope will be there and take the plunge, that big scary plunge and try and get into a career that has always been my 'If you could do any job it would be...' answer?

There you have it, I said it, the scary plunge.  And scary it is, in actual fact, it's terrifying.  To try and go out and actually do what you dream you would like to do!  Why is it scary?  For many reasons.  A dream is beautiful and lovely in your head because it is perfect.  You are great at it, everyone else thinks you are fantastic at it and nothing can ever go wrong with it.

By trying to do what you hope you might be good enough to do in real life, wow you are putting yourself up onto a 100ft high, but only 1ft wide pedestal, where you are stripped naked.  You are going to get the truth, and in this world that means you will receive criticism, negativity, what you do might not be liked and marvelled at.  What you think you can do might never take off and your dream failed.  And there lies The Fear.  That age old, stop you in your tracks question: 

What if I fail?

And if you do then not only have you failed, you no longer have a dream either, which is a double sucker punch.  On the other hand, if you don't put yourself out there and try you'll instead spend your entire life wondering, and probably die thinking 'F*** it, regret not trying now, what would it have hurt?  My pride for a day?  A Week?  A Month?.'  And would it not be worse, to be having this same debate in my head when I am 80, instead of taking the chance of failure and if I do, thinking o.k so now it's time for a new dream then?  I am not sure.

I am lucky enough to be going to see Jodi Picoult speak about writing in April.  Maybe that can be my question to her; Was you ever so paralysed by The Fear that you considered not putting your writing and passion and dream out there?  Be interesting to see what she says.

Has anyone out there taken the plunge and realised your career dream?  How did it work out for you?  Did you find a dream career without realising it was going to be so?


  1. I once read a book on the subject of the fear. 'Feel the fear...and do it anyway.' It really helped me at the time when I was going through a career crisis. As a result, I ended up telling my company I was going to leave - and guess, what they changed my job/changed my location to something I had only dreamed of doing, and I then worked for them for another 8 happy years as a very satisfied employee.

    A long time later, I was very fortunate to attend a 3 day course based on Stephen Covey's book 'The seven habits of highly effective people'. That book and course changed my perspective on many things; it was like a veil had been lifted. I saw my own world with different eyes. I chose to take a risk and leave my career in search of something new. I did not, and don't regret it - I'd worked for the same company since leaving uni, but without that impetus (the course they paid for!) I don't know if I would have had the guts to do it. As it was, I then ended up working for another massive corporation doing something similar (but which I thought would be different - but this time I got to the point of 'this is not for me' very quickly. Exit stage left for maternity leave!

    When Pip was born I decided to retrain in something completely new. (Acupuncture). Unfortunately the course I chose went into liquidation so it was not meant to be, but I do hope to be able to pick it up again someday.

    In an age where we live until we are 90 and our kids will probably live even longer, I think the days of having just one career are gone. Many people these days have two or three career changes in their life which is wonderful I think.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do. Exciting times ahead. x

    PS. Most envious about Jodie Picoult.

  2. I completely understand what your talking about here. I am in a state of needing to consider some sort of employment by the end of this year as we would like to think about baby number two at the same time and we will need to money. However I have a good career to fall back on but it makes me very unhappy and involves a lot of travelling. After much thought I finally applied to go to university to study for a midwifery role. I felt I had to take the plunge and do somehting for me. Being a mum is my first priority but it doesn't define me and do I feel guilty for needing something for me? Sometimes. But thats part of the mum role.
    Good luck! x

  3. Do it! Far, far more people regret what they DIDN"T do and than what they did do. Be greedy, dare to want a wonderful life and a perfect job. I get down and depressed after 3 years at home full-time caring for three kids inc 2 with special needs, but I'm still applying for jobs and I'm still putting myself out there and keeping up my profile. I'm not going to give up, and you shouldn't either x


I would love for you to quack your thoughts along with me and will always try and quack right back.