When you’re at school, we spend quite some time reading brochures and sitting in on career talks. We’re often fed the highlight reel of possible career options, when quite often the reality is something entirely different. Lately I’ve been thinking back to my career goals prior to leaving school and subsequently analysing my current situation today. So, I think it is a good idea to reflect and ask the question “does my current career live up to my younger self’s expectations?”
“When I Leave School, I Want to Be…”
When I was at school I wanted to be a fashion designer. I knew I wanted to work in fashion but I wanted a career that would satisfy my creative and academic needs. Becoming a fashion designer seemed the best, most appropriate route for me at the time. But if I’m completely honest, there was something about the idea that didn’t seem to quite fit. As far as I was aware, few of my fellow school friends wanted to pursue the same career, instead choosing more “sensible” career options. I think that this in itself was one of the reasons why this career option appealed to me most at the time.
Leaving School and Starting Work
Shortly after leaving school, I relocated abroad and travelled, which completely changed my views on the kind of career I was looking for. While this way of life provided me with exciting experiences and a unique outlook on life, in turn I sacrificed my previous career plans and expectations. Instead, I put to good use the work options that came my way and rather than rushing into studying or pursuing a career that I wasn’t completely sure about, I took my time to see how my life evolved. I studied alongside working and gained business experience. I started my own business ventures and learned how to run my own business, manage employees, and gain/retain clients.
While working in a more serious and traditional business field, I discovered the world of blogging. I set up my first blog in 2009 as a creative outlet. It was only ever meant to be a hobby blog, but it brought me closer to the kind of career path I saw myself following. In those days not everybody knew what a blog was and there were far less bloggers around compared to today. Through blogging, I found my passion for freelance creative writing which helped me in my next paid job role as a lifestyle and travel blogger. Later on, I launched Online Personal Stylist and carefully considered the type of people I wanted to work with, as well as the type of content I wanted to create. This slow and quality approach to building my new business afforded me the luxury of running a business I love! Admittedly and compared to others with blogs, I did start earning money pretty quickly. However, for me Online Personal Stylist was my second business that I had built from scratch and was the slowest of my business projects to start earning a full-time income. The good thing about this though, is that I was able to set up a business that I could run the way I wanted to and attract the people with whom I wanted to work. There’s a lot to be said for having a happy work life where you feel that your job is an extension of your hobby.
Does My Current Job Live Up to My Career Expectations?
Yes and no. Obviously, fashion styling and blogging wasn’t the career path I planned to follow when I was making those plans at school, but it’s definitely a job that I love and I am glad to have found. I can however, say that this job does live up to every expectation I had of this career path!
Another of my teenage business-related goals was to be self-sufficient, able to work from home and be financially independent. This came true for me in my early twenties. But what I failed to plan or predict was the type of people I wanted in my personal life. I believe that people come into our lives for all different reasons and from all different walks of lives. Some of the best friendships I have are a result of the most unexpected situations. This is perfectly fine.
However, in those early years of running my own business, I admit to finding it difficult to form balanced and healthy friendships in my personal life. Some people are lucky that they are able to go through life, achieve what they set out to master, and keep the same circle of friends they’ve had since school. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everybody and it certainly wasn’t the case for me. An old school friend and fellow entrepreneur friend of mine recently reminded me that in addition to setting yourself business and financial goals, you also need to visualise the kind of people you want in your life. Ideally, people who will support you and not criticise your achievements to make them feel better about themselves. It can become awfully uncomfortable to try and maintain friendships with people who make you feel guilty about wanting a better quality of life when you’re not afraid to put in the hard work and take risks in order to get what you want. You should always strive to be around people who spur you on and celebrate your successes with you! I’m fortunate to be in that position now, but it took time and careful consideration to get here.
Would I Recommend My Chosen Career?
My official job role is fashion stylist and blogger. Before setting up Online Personal Stylist, I studied fashion, photography and editorial styling because I wanted to gain a qualification that would help me with blogging. My projects are often a mixture of styling projects for fashion brands and blogging collaborations. I would absolutely recommend my choice of career! No two days are ever the same and I genuinely feel spoilt with the fantastic opportunities offered to me. That being said, it is incredibly hard work! I am well aware that I make my work look a lot easier that what it really is. My cool and laid-back personality is definitely deceiving because I’m sure many people would not believe I’m capable of working as hard as I do! HAHA! I see this as a good thing though. I don’t want to be perceived as a blogger who is constantly complaining about their workload and how much effort they put in to their content creation. Many a time I’ve worked until the early hours of the morning in order to finish tasks. And, even after I have completed one task, there is always something new to be getting on with. This is why work/life balance is important!
For me, at Online Personal Stylist, it’s definitely all about the work that goes on behind the scenes. But I do absolutely adore my work, my business and I wouldn’t change a thing! Some days my work I am working to strict deadlines and juggling many roles from administration work to content creator – as do many business owners. Other days, I spend the working day dressing up and playing around with clothes and makeup before taking pictures.
How do you feel in your current job role? I’ve certainly had my fair share of highs and lows, but overall I am now happy with my current situation and job status. Does your current job live up to your previous career expectations?