Until recently I saw my design work stuff as my “day job.” I saw it as a means to make money to support my life (duh) and fund my passion project. Now, however I feel a real shift. Instead of largely not acknowledging it, and desperately trying to own the space of “Coach” and “Writer,” I am recognizing how much I enjoy it and how much it lifts me. This simple change of mind has allowed me to fully embrace my present professional state proudly, without concern of transition, the future, labels or any other stigma I had previously attached to it.
To give you a little context, I should say that I’ve never been the kinda girl to hold down a job for long. I have tried many different roles at a variety of organisations, but if I wasn’t happy or realized this gig wasn’t for me, I found a new passion/ career to explore and went for it. I felt compelled to make a move as soon as I knew in my heart that I couldn’t see myself doing it when I was older or when the cons started out-weighing the pros. This did allow me to experience quite a lot in my twenties, but it didn’t provide much in the sense of security and every new adventure was preceded by a breakdown. I felt lost, unsure and without purpose. How would I ever find my perfect career? The one where it all clicked. I could be creative and learn and enjoy every moment. A place where no-one watched me work or projected their unnecessary stress onto me… You know, Work Heaven.
After a few years of being a professional nomad, I thought I’d return to my discipline and I launched the freelance design portion of my career. I got a few clients, worked at an agency for a bit and it was okay. I tried to grow it into a business, even pulled Hubby into it, but even with all that, I wasn’t feeling that zing, that “this is it, this is what I am here to do.” I was waiting. I was waiting for an idea or an opportunity to simply launch myself into success.
A few years down the line, I hit my quarter-life crisis and felt so depressed that I started reading a self-help book. At the time, this was not my jam, but WOW, BEST THING I EVER DID! I learnt an infinite amount of wisdom from this single book, but most of all, I learnt about taking ownership for where I am right now and how I choose to show up in this moment.
I made a number of changes, which you can read more about in one of my earlier posts, How to Be You. One of these was the decision to get a job. I realized that I wasn’t doing well with the freelance work because I wasn’t committed and simply didn’t really care enough to put my all into it. This meant that the long hours required to both grow the business and be the talent, was not something I was willing to give. My solution was that I would remove the long hours part. No more stressing about finding new business and checking the numbers. At a job I could keep it simple. I could do the work and get paid at the end of the month. This would allow me support, space and time to focus on my next big move, writing this blog.
I started putting it out into the Universe, telling anyone who would listen exactly what I was after. This is what I said over and over again, “I want a part-time job that pays X, is close to my house, flexible hours and requires a low emotional investment.” Most of the responses I got were, “Good luck.” But I was convinced it was out there. This combination in a job would provide enough support and enough space so that I could continue on this path of spiritual and personal development.
Well, I got it. All of it. Ok, not the last one. The very first interview I went on was exactly 7 minutes from my house in Johannesburg, it paid the exact number I was looking for, was part time and flexible. I walked out of there with a job and overwhelming joy that I had just manifested the next chapter in my life.
During the first couple at weeks of the new job I really tried to keep to myself. I clocked in and out and worked only my designated hours. I was trying really hard to just do the work and not get too involved, but it was impossible, because the Universe also gave me amazing people to work with and before I knew it, I was 200% emotionally invested in the work and where I worked.
Now, almost 2 years down the line I could not be more grateful. This is the longest I have ever been at a single job and I can see why. In my nomadic years, I was looking for the job to give me inspiration and creativity and opportunities to have fun and learn and grow. I was expecting an environment to have an open space just for me where I could shine in my special way. But this time around, I entered the space without expectation or attachment. I didn’t add any arbitrary requirements and or look for pre-mature ways to elevate myself. I arrived every day with gratitude for the job, its financial support and security, the opportunities to learn, and to connect with great people.
This “day job” is now as much a part of my identity as anything else. I love the work I do. New projects get me energized and I throw myself into each one. Of course, there are some projects that are more fun than others, but rather than hating a particular task, I understand that every new project means income for the business, which means I get to continue working there, I get to continue to add value and help grow the business. I am a part of something and am very grateful for that.You have to bring it! You have to be the source of the joy you seek wherever you are. Click To Tweet
You have to bring it though! You have to be the source of the joy you seek wherever you are. If it is a day job that you don’t love right now, ask yourself which part you do enjoy and extend that feeling into all parts of your day. Choose to be inspired by even the most menial of tasks, as it is helping you feed yourself, and providing support in a number of ways. If you’re struggling to see it, I suggest writing down all the things that your paycheck lets you do. Everything from groceries, to taking care of your pet, living alone, feeling secure and empowered to pay for the bill this time around, your yoga classes, your data and so much more.
When you see this list, allow all that joy to reflect back into your work. I know it might not be your end game, but I promise that if you choose to see your job as a source of inspiration and support, and you show up with a grateful attitude every day, you will see shifts. People become kinder, the work becomes lighter and even the coffee tastes better. When you’re happy where you are, you attract opportunities for more happiness, in this job or your next.
If this is not exactly where you thought you would be by now, my advice to you is simple. Forget about where you thought you would be because where you thought you’d be, does not exist. You are here now. This is happening now. Choose to let go of your expectations and simply show up and do the work. Engage, share your ideas and give all you have to making whatever you’re doing the best it can be. This is a shift away from the expectation of others towards ownership of your reality. It changes everything when you lose the attachment of cause and effect and simply stay present and do the work. When I started at this job, I was a WordPress designer with basic coding knowledge. Today I am a front-end developer and project manage a small portfolio. Taking stock, I am very happy with how I’ve grown and am flabbergasted at how little time I spent planning it. None to be exact. You see, I went into the job without attachment and this became my superpower. Instead of wondering about my next strategic move or whether a particular task was beneath me, I simply showed up every day and did what needed to get done.
I’ve grown a lot in the last 2 years, both in capability and responsibility, but this would be true if I continued to stay uninvolved and only focused on what was required. I would not be doing the work I do today if I went into it with expectations and anticipations; if I demanded more without giving first and if I didn’t choose to show up with gratitude every day.
I’m still writing, I’m still committed to BloomHabits, but that does not mean I can’t also be committed to other aspects of my professional world. When I started my day job, I claimed I was in transition while I got Bloom off the ground, but today, I realise it’s not a job at all; I am, very unexpectedly, building a career.
Today I own where I am right now. Still unconcerned with “where I am going,” because I know that I am where I need to be, doing what I am meant to doing to invite more joy and love into the world.
Embrace where you are right now. Find joy and love in what you’re doing, even if you start with just one aspect of your day. Cherish it and let the power of that gratitude extend into more and more of your life. Choose to be inspired and happy where you are, and you will be.