Are You in A Career Coma?

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Do you feel trapped, increasingly despondent and disgruntled about what you do for a living? Perhaps it’s time to break free.

So many successful personalities only found their true calling when they were well into mid-to-late adulthood.

Monday rolls around and you feel a familiar sense of dread course through your veins.  Your office beckons, but if truth be known, you would much rather be abducted by aliens than to slave away another week at the office.

Are you feeling like a caged animal that just can’t seem to find a way out, believing the universe has conspired to trap you in decades of career coma until it decides that it’s time for you to meet your Maker?

A report released several years ago by Washington, DC-based polling organisation, Gallup, revealed that only about 13 percent of workers worldwide love what they do.  Gallup quizzed a total of 25 million employees in 189 different countries. So, as luck would have it, you’re one of the 87 percent who just go through the motions at work, sharing the plight of disillusioned 9-to-5ers who feel incredibly stifled and bored doing the same tasks month after month.

Tsk! Tsk! To think that when you were a bright-eyed 10-year-old, you wanted a career in the arts.  You had envisioned yourself as a novelist, crafting bestseller after bestseller and being your own boss. Then life happened and now you’re holed up within the four corners of your office doing clerical work and getting screamed at by your superiors.  Oh, and not to mention you’re severely underpaid…

Usually, while still young, we already have an idea what we wanted to be when we grow up.   Some wanted to be teachers, actors, dancers, doctors, and so on.  Some get to pursue their dream, but some decide to follow a different path, often because they lack the financial means to take up their chosen course, and sometimes out of peer or family pressure (“You want to be a painter? Do you know how many artists died a pauper? Unless you want posthumous fame and fortune, just be an accountant or engineer my dear.”)

So, being a dutiful daughter that you are, you let yourself be swayed.  Years later, you are now regretting that decision, but at your age, isn’t it a bit too late to turn your back to what’s familiar and venture out into the unknown?

Don’t Settle

The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs had this to say during his 2005 Stanford commencement address: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

It was largely Jobs’ genius which catapulted Apple into becoming a behemoth company that it is today, and the world mourned when he died in 2011 at the age of 56.  Yet, should we really pity the man or envy him? He may have had a relatively short life, but he used what little time he had to live life on his own terms.  Jobs’ biggest legacy is not the iPhone; it’s achieving a lot more in his short life than what most people could ever hope to attain if given multiple lifetimes.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something,” Jobs said.

Why It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

Some people make the mistake of thinking that they may be too old to pursue what they want when the truth is, so many successful personalities only found their true calling when they were well into mid-to-late adulthood.  Artist Grandma Moses, famous for evoking nostalgic memories in her paintings of rural American life, only started painting at the age of 78!

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books and arguably the most famous rags-to-riches story in the literary world, was a single mother who taught English for years before hitting it big in her mid-30s with the publication of her signature books.  And then, there’s my journalist friend, who at 44, is in her sophomore year as a law student.

Another year has begun, and with it comes another opportunity for us to start anew.  We were not born to suffer a life of perpetual professional dissatisfaction.  If today were the last day of our lives, would we want to do what we are about to do today? If the answer is no, it’s time to move on and find a vocation that will set our hearts and creativity on fire.

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