Did you plan your job?
I was so sure of myself when I was in my 20s. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, and how to get there. Oh, young me. You were so linear.
It changed organically. My husband Andreas and I both spent a fair amount of time at university together, garnering a whole bunch of degrees neither of us use any more. When the exams settled, I was an attorney and he was employed at UCT as a research scientist.
We felt sorted. We had steady recognisable professions, jobs that seemed secure, and each other… ready for the long haul.
And then we found ourselves getting bored. We didn’t even talk about it at first. My first inkling was when someone asked my husband what he did at a dinner party and he shrugged. Just shrugged.
‘That can’t be a good sign,’ I said to him on the way home. ‘Partly because I feel just the same way. Something’s got to give.’
And it did. I actually quit that Monday, which worked out spectacularly as I found out I was pregnant on the Friday. (Goodbye pay check, hello new money worries!) Andreas quit a few years later.
We both started out by becoming freelance writers. We needed to take stock of ourselves and what we enjoyed, whilst doing something that earned money from home, in a way we both found fairly easy. We’re hard workers, write well and understand deadlines.
After a while though, we each found ourselves drawn to different topics. Andreas became more and more interested in researching sustainability and getting involved in eco-activism, while I was drawn to the business behind the publications I was writing for.
After a while, Andreas launched an environmental film festival, and I became a strategist at a publishing company. Then Dreas helped launch a bookshop and I got hooked on the internet, becoming a lifestyle editor at an SA website.
We bounced a bit, but happily. Luckily, there are two of us, which meant juggling varying incomes was a lot easier… I am always so impressed when people take big leaps on one salary alone.
I love that for so many, job paths have become job plunges, where you throw yourself into things and add bits to yourself to take into your next challenge. I’m not talking about job skipping, but more immersion into different environments (I have never worked at a job for less than 3 years) and then having more to bring to your next environment.
I now work in digital media at a larger retailer: so my legal training, content strategy and business understanding are all really useful. And Andreas? Andreas has honed in on one of the earliest parts of the journey to a sustainable future… and now teaches at a prep school.
I don’t know where our futures take us, but I do know neither of us would take back any of the training or the work experiences we’ve had.
In fact. I’m kinda excited to see what happened next.