What defines the real world? Who says the real world isn’t deciding what you want to do and figuring out how to make it work?
Two years ago, i chose to take a less conventional route. As opposed to jumping into the riptide of corporate life like so many others, I decided to take control of my life in a different way. And it’s been the best decision i’ve ever made.
But regardless of you’re post-grad decision making, everyone can make a conscious decision about who and what controls their lives.
During senior year of college it was bad. But it was worse throughout grad school. Every week i would hear friends talking about what job opportunities they had lined up, and how many call-backs they were getting from their recent interviews. I had several friends who were flying all over the country for interviews with big conglomerates, banks, or fashion companies. Some of them were even landing great jobs. But others were not.
One friend of mine was visibly shaken by this overwhelming and scary process. Though she is otherwise strong and brilliant, she let the struggle of the job search consume her. At times it seemed like she even allowed Fortune 500 HR departments to determine her self-worth. I sympathized with her despite my concern.
When i arrived at this stage, I realized that i could control the trajectory of my life without the comfy paycheck from a big, sexy firm.
Taking control of my life…6 months at a time.
I very much respect my peers who did join the corporate climb, but i couldn’t bring myself to grab the rung. I didn’t do a single corporate interview in college. Instead, I relied on relationships with people to help create open doors, and made little bets with my first few years in the real world.
For the last 2 years, i’ve made life decisions 6 months at a time. And it’s been a fun journey.
I have learned a ton, met great people, completed a masters degree, found a really cool job, and moved to an amazing city. But it has required hard work and certainly a steep risk profile. There are days when it’s uncomfortable – when i feel out of control. There are times when the only option is to wake up and figure out how to make it work. But the highs have definitely kept me smiling through the tears.
Im certainly not perfect. In fact, i’m chief among the mistake-makers. But i’ve chosen a life of freedom, and i’m loving every minute of it. Most importantly, I’m not different than the next guy, and you can also make this decision for your life.
Not everyone can quit their job and live life on a whim like Chris or Brooke – and certainly not everyone should. But everyone can make a conscious decision about how they are going to control their lives in whatever place they find their self.
The truth is that there are so many opportunities available for our generation. If you feel like you’ve settled for what’s normal instead of taking full advantage of these opportunities, there’s no time like the present.
Maybe you’re the corporate warrior. Perhaps you’ve had success as a young professional, but sometimes the stress and pressure to conform is slowly changing who you are. Take back control! Now is the time for a fresh perspective in your life and work.
It’s more likely that your first couple years have been rough. But I firmly believe you can crunch numbers ’til your fingers are raw and still thrive as an individual. You don’t have to let the grind of cubicles and long hours wear you down. Find a passion to empower you during your spare time, and get after it.
Here’s the best news you’ve heard all week: No matter where you are, you can still control what you become. You can decide how you spend your available time. You can dictate how you’re progressing towards your future. You can set the trajectory of your dreams.
Over to you! What’s your perspective? Are you currently doing anything to take you where you want to be?