Taking the Plunge and Reinventing Yourself

Have you been following the same career path for the last five, ten, fifteen years? Are you aching to find something new? Is it too late to change and explore new options? Or do you believe you are simply too old to go back to school and already over the hill to reset your profession?

As young professionals, in our twenties and thirties, we question our career decisions quite recklessly. Some confidently make drastic changes, while a great majority stagnates unhappily in to a career they hardly enjoy.  Promotions come our way, increases in salary continue to temporarily satisfy us, and comfort kicks in. A sense of security is reinforced and a greater sense of fear of change grows larger barricading many to follow our hearts and seek personal contentment. 

The question I choose to answer is, what is stopping many of us unfulfilled souls to break the barriers and follow our hearts?

Security & Comfort
As suggested in the introduction, security is probably one of the biggest limitations to freedom. Although security generally denotes a positive connotation, it is also a trap we easily fall into. As life surprises us with unexpected series of events, being a big expense, health issues, and an unforeseen bill; or with new desires, being the new iPhone 5, a new car, and new shoes, many of us seek some sort of stability – mainly financial – to prepare for the unexpected and the fancied. 

Sadly we become the victim of money, that forsaken element that creates so much angst in life. I will not dive into the consumerist trend and the growing capitalistic bubble we continue to fuel as it will digress this simple article into a politically debate that we Canadians prefer to evade as to continue to live life passively (I included). 

That desire for security easily transforms in a state of comfort, one that I frown upon explicitly as it limits the possibilities of growth and experience. However understandably so, that comfort allows for future planning for the next 5 to 10 years, a nice home with calculated and secured mortgage payments, permits for 1.1 kids and a dog. It enables us to plan for our yearly vacation, our new big screen TV, iPad, computer and so forth. 

Anyway, all this digressing blurb to explain that many of us make the conscious decision to commit to our jobs despite an imploding desire to venture into something else, all at the sake of security and comfort. Alternatively, some people are happy with their predictable and mundane lives and there is nothing wrong with that. However, this article is addressed to us reckless ones that seek change and fulfillment.

Period of Stability and Kids
Unfortunately as we get older and decide to commit and create a beautiful family, that notion of reinventing yourself becomes limited with new responsibilities. These new obligations take precedent over everything, including the pit of despair we fall deep into at work. Priorities shift from “I” to “we” and the possibilities of changing aspirations or careers become labeled as selfish. It is therefore imperative to have enough savings before venturing into both a family and career change or simply – and I know you are also thinking this – marry rich and depending on the partner. Those who inherit money are probably the best off. 

Following Our Peers’ Lifestyle
Reinventing ourselves requires lots of sacrifices. Some of us may need to go back to school, live poorly for a few years, and/or adjust our lifestyles quite significantly. Our friends, on the other hand, might be living lavishly, eating out regularly, splurging on outings, and finally living within a common schedule. These dissimilar lifestyles create a sense of loneliness, separation and ultimately lead some of us to doubt our decision to break from routine and dive into the unknown and exciting world of self-exploration. 

We should not give up. Instead, we should follow our hearts and especially not judge that those around us set the right example. We may be different, or we may also be nuts, but we must continue to focus on the end goal.

Being Frowned Upon by Those Closest to Us
To top it off, often those closest to us, generally being our family and friends, frequently frown upon that foreign move we decide to tackle. They do not do this out of jealousy or ill thought, but simply out of worry. They question our “foolish” decision to leave our well-paying and well-regarded job in the pursuit of an unfruitful project with a low probability of success. I guess we can’t really blame them, but once again this should not halt us from our dreams.

Montreal Job Market
Unfortunately our options in Montreal are quite limited compared to some of the bigger cities. The variety of jobs is narrow and less exciting. Alternatively, we have lots of cool start-ups and artists blooming in the city, but the smaller population makes it harder to gain momentum and sustain a hefty cash flow. These Montreal-specific characteristics make it all the much harder to pursue something else, but an extra challenge will only make us stronger; so let’s not be discouraged (let me start my convincing myself of that).

Fear of Struggle and Failure
Fearing the unknown and fearing failure are probably some of the principal bottlenecks to making the move to reinventing yourself.  Indeed, this mountainous experiment will generate many headaches, insecurities, white hair, anxiety and a redefined pit of despair, but personal growth will definitely be an outcome that is golden. We must not only look at the final outcome of this gutty move, but rather cherish the trajectory, the experience, and learn from it. It may lead to success as it may also lead to failure, but should we have not attempted in making it happen, a pondering discontentment will torment us forever.  

Dearest young professional, let us break from routine, explore our talents, our dreams, our curiosity and replace that growing discontentment into a hopeful fulfilled (and lucrative) reality. Make us proud, be fearless and be featured on Notable one day.