Why finding our place in our working lives should not involve compromise...
As my first week of full-time focus on transitioning to contracting comes to an end, I took a break and went to see Top Gun 2. It was a classic feel-good action drama delivered by a top class acting cast. There were many references in the movie to 'where we belong', which got me thinking about my move to contracting. I then reflected on my careers from the Military to Process Management to Engineering over more years than I care to admit. In my reflection, I realised why I'm brave and not foolhardy to make the move to contracting and give it an honest shot.
Life is an opportunity lottery of cause and effect, which we all go through with varying degrees of 'success'. What makes success attractive is not a title or cash earned in a race to the top, which can often turn into a race to the bottom. It's the accumulation of experience that colours the journey, which we look back upon as success or failure. This fact about success seems to be overlooked by many who implicitly declare it out of reach. Some psychologists have even published online articles submitting that being unhappy in our jobs is ok once we have some outside interests like family, hobbies, etc. I would like to rebuke this argument as folly for the following reasons. Our time on this earth is limited and we spend vast amounts of time figuring out who we are in our early years in particular. I was in the middle of my 2nd career when I gained such clarity but lacked the confidence and the courage to step outside of the comfort zone that society drew for me. This self-defeating behaviour led me to a common misunderstanding that folks often live out their lives upon. To be elevated in life to the next rung on a management ladder, or the next big job only is only meaningful if it touches one's inner values driving one onwards to self-actualization. Not everyone will be a movie star or member of the board. I would argue that it's okay to be neither. Dropping society's misinformed musings of the day around what is expected of us and connecting our passion with purpose should be our primary metric in finding a career where we feel we belong. When we do, our lives will become transformed. Our group, our tribe, and our fellowship with like-minded individuals who share the same passion and purpose energize our very being in a manner that brings happiness to all who we touch with our commitment, positivity and enthusiasm. Visible outputs such as creativity and productivity are secondary to these primary drivers in our lives.
Even now in these formative stages of setting up Maolte as an IT/Cloud contracting business, I can say that having the courage to go it alone and leave full-time employment behind for the unknown and the unpredictable takes courage. It may work out or may not, but either way; the returns in life lessons fuel my inner being with life experiences I am already connecting with. The quality of learning, commitment and experience that will come will be greater than what was due to this deeper sense of commitment. Where it will end up is not clear, but what is beyond doubt is that my life will be enriched by the experience as I plan my next steps with an enthusiasm that I have not felt in a long time. So as I write the start of a new chapter in my life, I raise my glass to you and wish you the type of success that is bound to happiness on your journey.
Stay tuned for more on writing in this blog along with articles on other areas of interest in the infrastructure and DevOps arenas. To not miss out on any updates on my availability, tips on related areas or anything of interest to all, sign up for one of my newsletters in the footer of any page on Maolte. I look forward to us becoming pen pals!