Are you close to achieving them?
I spent my 20s and early 30s chasing after promotions to reach a top position as an Academic Registrar in Higher Education! I truly believed reaching this career goal would make me happy! I sure felt like I’d worked hard enough for it, having climbed the ranks through Administrator positions and Assistant Registrar roles at various Universities. My skills and experience had been honed and I was ready to apply them to the role I’d been working towards. So why, when I got there, was this just not the happy ending I’d imagined?!
As with most career-driven people, we can find ourselves fully immersed in the work we are doing! Having high standards for ourselves means putting in the extra hours to demonstrate our dedication. When we leave the office at the end of the day, we don’t leave our duties behind, we take them home with us! Do evenings spent working on the emails or lying awake in the middle of the night trying to problem solve sound familiar?!! I was basically doing all I could to not drop any balls, an almost impossible task!
The reality was that something had to give!
Obviously, when all your time and energy is going on your career, then there’s not going to be much time for anything else! So my work/life balance began to suffer and before I knew it, the very thing I’d worked the past decade trying to achieve, was not bringing me the satisfaction I had hoped for!
Something had to change! I started to reflect on what was important to me at work! I drew up a list and selected the key features of my career that I really enjoyed! Top of the list was ‘variety of work’ and ‘working with people!’ These were things that I had always enjoyed and any future jobs would have to stretch me as much as my current job could but in a more contained way!
So, what was I missing?!
Well, I realised I was so stretched that it had made me quite unhappy! Working less, suddenly became the goal! That sounds great on paper but, when you have bills to pay and mouths to feed, it’s quite a daunting task to embark on! How was I going to work less and in a more flexible way, but continue earning a high enough salary to bring home my share of the bacon?
Having toyed with the idea of Virtual Assistant work for a while, I began researching more and more into the industry! It was a revelation to me when I realised just how valuable my skills were! Just like anyone who has honed their craft, I had spent my entire working life refining skills which are invaluable to busy people running their own businesses! I could see this working but didn’t know quite where to start!
By sheer coincidence, I was lucky enough to be introduced to a well-established Virtual Assistant in 2018, who was very generous in sharing their advice and experience! This fortuitous meeting became my platform for achieving my new career objectives! Finally, I could plan the setting up of my business and I edged a step closer to flexible working!
Fast forward a year and flexible working has become my most prized career goal!
Well, that and working in my PJs, but shhh don’t tell anyone! It really is a luxury to be able to choose how my working week will look.
I feel happier with this balance and knowing that my career can now flex and adapt to my home life is reassuring and future-proofing! I feel less stressed, have more time now I don’t have a daily commute and I can pick and choose the work I want to do! Best of all I’m doing it on my terms!
And what about the other things on my list; variety and working with people?!
Well, I can’t imagine a more varied role! Jumping from business to business, one day I’m providing support for a new build construction site and another day I’m creating a newsletter or building a website! As for people, I can’t imagine a nicer community to be part of! I am connected to other VAs, my clients, their clients and liaise with suppliers, solicitors, estate agents and other professionals on a daily basis!
Now my challenge will be to create some new career goals to keep me busy for the next decade!!
Have you changed your career? Or have elements of your career become more, or less, important to you along your journey? I’d love to hear about your experience!