Friday, April 13, 2007

Fitting In...

I've never read any of those "Finding your Bliss" books, although I probably should have eons ago. If I had, I may have made completely different choices in my life.

But then again, I can't possibly regret the choices I've made, they've led me to where I am now. So maybe it's a good thing I was such a late starter on the whole self-discovery thing.

What got me thinking about this? I went last night to an alumni event for my former employer. An employer I worked for for almost 17 years depending on when you start counting. (I was a co-op student with them during University so on my first day of employment, I was actually still 19 years old.) Last evening, sitting in a room of mostly men, with neat haircuts, wearing suits, talking about subjects in which I had little interest, it struck me how happy I am with the choices I'm making now and how unhappy I was for so many years struggling so hard to fit in, to play the part of aggressive business person, when that's about as far from my natural character as you can get.

I think my problem is that I don't like to be told I can't do something. I have a strong sense of pride and hate failure. So the idea that I wasn't going to be a success at the career I chose drove me a little insane and also drove me to keep trying to make it work when I knew in my heart, probably in my first year of University, that I'd chosen the wrong path for me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I met some of my very best friends in my years as an accountant. And many (most?) of the stereotypes for accounting and accountants simply aren't true. In professional public accounting anyway, there's an incredible amount of judgement involved, tons of variety in your day-to-day work, it's not routine or boring at all. It wasn't boredom or routine that I didn't like as many of my writer-friends assume. It was pretending to care about business in general. Pretending to get excited about closing a deal, or negotiating a contract, or finding ways to increase shareholder value. I just never cared. I saw the adrenaline rush in my colleagues' eyes and always thought there was something wrong with me for not feeling that way.

It simply never turned me on.

What turns you on? Have you found your bliss?

6 comments:

Eileen said...

Getting there. I may pass on bliss and settle in on content. I worry with bliss that I swing too wildly to the opposite.

Maureen McGowan said...

I hear you, Eileen... I'm not much of a bliss person myself. I think that's why I settled for something so far from bliss first though. At least your non-writing job seems to be something you care about.

Christine said...

I find the corporate world to be hard to take sometimes. They really do try to squeeze as much out of you as they can. But until I can support myself as a writer (not happening anytime soon) or my husband goes back to work (he's a stay at home dad) I'll keep slaving away. :)

Nadine Dajani said...

Wow - that post really hit the spot for me. I know for a fact I picked accounting because it was the most serious, prestigious of the biz majors, even though my heart was in marketing, I ached with jealousy for my really good friend who'd gone down that path, and all my marketing teachers were telling me I should switch majors. I guess I sort f had an image for myself when I was young as really successful, and accounting was the surest way. Of course, when you live it you realize that when you're always trying to bend yourself in a direction that's unnatural to you, you spend your whole life suffering. And then it seeps into other facets of your life. I'll always wonder what made me do it...

Wylie Kinson said...

I fell almost accidently into every career in my multi-career path. I've had no regrets, I learned lots along the way, but so far, writing is the only one I sought out.

Kimber said...

When I started playing the business game, it was like I had come home. I love it. I'm good at it. I get excited even thinking about it. I will never, ever truly leave it (might take summers off to write but at the end of those summers, I'm itching to get back).

On the other hand, I don't know that I fit as naturally in the writing world. There are some logic disconnects that I'm having difficulty accepting.

There are so many careers, to stick it out in one that doesn't excite you just for the money is pretty darn silly.

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