In seventh grade I gave a presentation about being a neonatologist. I loved the idea of working with babies, helping to save lives.
So I found a white coat, borrowed a stethoscope from lord knows where and snagged a baby doll from my basement for the perfect prop. I loved dressing up and teaching my class what it meant to be a doctor, and how excited I was to become one someday.
In retrospect, my middle school alter ego also wanted to be a marine biologist, travel agent and broadway actress. She was all over the place.
The experience of speaking so passionately about a job reminds me how often we strive to land our “dream job” but more importantly it makes me consider what we do once we find it.
If you’re a millennial, you’ve grown up in the era of entrepreneurship around every corner. Social media has made it possible for anyone to add the tagline ‘entrepreneur’, ‘lady boss’ or ‘self made’ to any Instagram or Twitter profile, creating an unfair and inaccurate reflection that we all must strive for this goal.
But what if we like our jobs?
In the age of self made and self promoted, it can often be overwhelming to simply enjoy the job you have now. We find ourselves trying to justify the satisfaction we have in our current position, telling ourselves its just something to tide us over until we launch our own thing.
Recently I have felt the urge to do more. But not because I dislike my job, it’s simply because I want more for myself.
The myth is that we must choose.
A life of an entrepreneur or a pencil pusher. What if there was a happy medium that would allow us to explore our desires with the security of a job we enjoy?
Growing up with parents who decided to follow the path of an entrepreneur and leave behind the office space, has often made it difficult for me to feel happy where I am.
Much like the pressure we feel as kids to be just like the athletes or musicians our parents once were, we feel that same pressure as adults. To follow the path that was show to us our entire life.
It comes down to this. It’s ok to like your job and still want more. Feeling guilty for being happy in your role is the most ass backwards way of thinking about life, and yet it makes complete sense when we think about the world around us. A world where being an entrepreneur means glamour and riches, but we forget that hustle, sweat and a whole lot of sacrifices come along with those rewards.
There were times when my Dad, the owner of his own construction company, would come home everyday at 10 or 11 pm. No weekends off, up and out the door at 6 am the next day. My Mom, a career coach and speaker, never stops working. Her thoughts are always focused on the next client call, the next speaking engagement, the next way to bring money in the door.
For them, there is never a guarantee.
But the freedom to be at all of my performances, drop everything to come help me move, or take me to the airport in the afternoon for a flight to Spain? All things they were able to do.
It’s a balancing act, having an entrepreneurial spirit but seeking security and desiring a dependable income. I’m working on ways to balance on that sword. Walking the fine line that will allow for my creativity and passion for self employment to find space inside my need for a sense of belonging and camaraderie that comes with a workplace.
I wonder how many of us feel the same way. Overwhelmed by the pressure we feel to make our own way, forgetting that it’s ok to enjoy where we are and find ways to nurture our passions in the time we would be watching Netflix instead.
If you’re someone struggling to find a way for the entrepreneur in you to be happy playing the long game, know that you are not alone and in fact, you’re in great company.