Written By: Zimasa Mabuse
I have been following a popular Kenyan blogger named Sharon Mundia [@this_is_ess] for about 4 years now – almost as long as TCC’s existence. Mundia, a media personality and Marketing graduate has had a stellar career which I have watched blossom. But no aspect of her career has had an impact on my life as her recent interview released 20 August 2019 which I watched on YouTube, in which she tearfully said the following words in relation to her future:
“I am not sure if I am allowed to show that I dont know what I want or where I’m going – I mean I sort of do, but at the same time I’m not always certain”
To watch someone my age declare that was groundbreaking for me.
The night before that, while having dinner with my husband & chatting about our work-life as we currently know it, I said the following words to him:
“It’s been so interesting having both a 9-5 job while building my brand & business on the side, I wonder which direction I will end up in. Either way, I dont really mind which direction I take”
I meant those words.
I am not certain whether it’s the fact that today, I officially celebrate one full year in my current job/company or that I turn 30 in a month-and-a-half that has me thinking about what direction I want or believe my career should take, but it has been perculating in my mind for some time. Positively so.
You see, for the past decade I have meticulously planned and executed every career move I have made. I have exercised tenacity and strategy at every point – even when the opportunity to work at a startup arose, it was a well-considered, well thought out and calculated risk which saw me consulting the opinion of about 10 different people: from Board members, to entrepreneurial friends, to millionaires, and even actuaries (no jokes, I really wanted an all-encompassing opinion on why I should leave a blue-chip company for an unknown fintech startup). I always knew what I wanted for my career in my 20s.
And in my 30s? I choose to take a more laissez-faire approach over the next decade…
Don’t get me wrong, I am not about to stop going after what I want, working hard to make my dreams come true or exercise any less strategy.
I am, however, going to stop fixating on what should happen, and focus on what could happen – trusting that, as long as I remain brilliant at what I do, utilise my talents, and remain known for a strong work ethic – that my career will turn out excellently. And excellence, success or prosperity can take place whether I am CEO of someone else’s company or my own.
Our careers are such a big deal. They are. For many of us, our vocations help define who we are, what we value, and what we’re here on this Earth to contribute as humans. And so, for these reasons and more, it’s completely understandable why so many of us are in a perpetual state of fear about getting them right. So in the spirit of constantly trying to get my own career “right” here is my personal approach to my career over the next decade:
A. Firstly, I will stop stressing about what career success is meant to look like. Careers evolve and grow not by worry and hyper-planning, but through life experience, chance meetings, epiphanies in the night, and sometimes? Dumb luck.
B. I will continue to curate my path, but I will largely be guided by my career capital: my personal skills, my unique talents, my all-encompassing network, and the attributes that matter most to me personally – freedom, money, work-life balance & authority. And non-toxicity
C. I am going to advocate for myself and continually work on my self-confidence. I spent too many years in corporate feeling insecure about my abilities and myself as a whole. I’m never allowing myself to feel so low again.
D. Lastly, I am going to be generous – with contacts, networks and information, because you never know what it will yield in future (karma, baby!).
Guys, whether you’re 29, 30, or even 42, you don’t have to have the entire storyline of your career mapped out. In fact, you could miss out on an incredible opportunity if you don’t allow yourself to be open to possibilities that come your way, curious about alternative paths, or flexible in how you define “career success.”
Have a plan? Yes! Be strategic & intentional? Absolutely! But never, ever be rigid.
I hope that you will all come with me on the next decade of my career – we could all learn from one another and I learn from the #CanvasCommunity everyday.
I am excited for my 30’s…They are about to be explosive.
Please comment below and let me know how you’ve changed your approach to your career as you’ve grown…
Ps – the link to the interview I’ve referenced is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHIxVieH1KA&t=885s