Career path adventures

When John asked me to write a blog post I was stumped. I had not written in a few years and the idea of writing again scared the jeez out of me. I sat at my desk researching, reading and finally realised that what I wanted to write about is not about recruitment tips and tricks – It is about the adventurous reality of finding your career path.

Reality is hard. Reality tells you, to go into a job that you don’t like while your dreams are fixated on your passions. Reality slaps you in the face with a parking ticket. Reality then punches you with rent and bills. Reality tells you can’t go into the job you want because you don’t have the experience for it, or because it doesn’t pay enough to cover those bills. Reality sometimes sucks. This is my reality. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t – maybe you’ve always been in a role/ company you love. In any case, I hope my reality somehow translates to you.

I woke up this morning in Melbourne. This is significant because I grew up in New Zealand. I finished high school in South Auckland, graduated from University, and now I’m in one of the richest economic and cultural cities on this side of the world. I’m working with some world-class people within one of the most progressive fields. However, coming this far was definitely a whirlwind adventure.

Fresh out of university I felt the pressure of the outside, white collar world on my shoulders. I didn’t know what I wanted – did I want to be a backpacker and rough it around the world? Did I want to stay in my part-time hospitality job and procrastinate being an adult? Where does it all start? Where does it all end?  Although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted; I’ll grant you that one. I knew what I didn’t want – I didn’t want the misery of working in a field I didn’t love. I was lost and confused so being a naive 21-year-old I sought after answers.

The advice I got from some of my family and friends was that I need to start being an adult, get ‘my act together’ with a full time job so I can save, buy a house and feel accomplished with my career (Ok, you forgot to ask me if I wanted a stress ball to go with that pressure). On the latter, I got the advice of, give it time something will come your way, you’re young, you need to figure yourself out (oh really? How much time? Am I useless for not having a career? How do I know what I enjoy and don’t?) I knew they had the best intentions, I just looked for answers in the wrong places. I now know that these answers come from myself and only I can somehow figure out what I want.

I wish someone had told me that I wasn’t bound to the degree I completed in Communications. That exploring what the world had to offer was OK, that having a part-time job in hospitality which I loved instead of a ‘career’ after graduating was OK. I quit the hospitality job I loved and wanted to continue with to go into something I thought I should be doing because I have this degree to use.

I got my ‘act together’ and found a job in healthcare in Auckland. I didn’t like it. I stuck with it for 2 years. My reality was that I wanted to travel, and this job paid for the travel. However, in sticking with this job, I became angry and so unsatisfied with life. So, was all the anger and unhappiness worth the travel? I don’t think so now.

But alas –I needed to start making the right decisions for me, not the easy decisions. To stop making excuses, blaming others, and putting so much pressure on myself. Through working in a field I didn’t enjoy I came to realise that I love hospitality, food and general people management. I grew up with food around me and worked in hospitality for years, so it came naturally. After being disheartened in a job I didn’t like – I decided to take the leap to Melbourne and find a role which suits my passion/s. Working in Recruitment allows me to work with people – to hear their stories, to care about clients’ needs and to work towards making them succeed. This is where my career path adventure took me and it’s slowly but surely heading in the right direction.

Finding what you’re supposed to be doing with your career isn’t easy. It’s an adventure with twists and unexpected turns. Nearly every interview I have candidates telling me they are still figuring it out and that is OK. It is OK to not know what you want, and it is OK to try different things to figure it out.

  • Great words of wisdom Nilly – I’m sure these will resonate with others. All the best with your new adventures with Plan B. A great company and you have a great Mentor in John.

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