Like all millennials, I had a mid-twenties crisis after graduation when my life plan fell apart (not to be dramatic or anything.) I ate a lot of cheesecake and ran a half marathon—and guess what? It didn’t help. Everyone said something similar to “it’ll all work out” and I was not having it. But I realize now, after scrapping every plan and idea I had, life has a pretty amazing way of working itself out.
When it comes to your career, patience is key and an understanding that the picture you have in your head of what your life looks like will likely be far different from reality. It will take time and hard work to get to where you want to be. And along the way you will encounter (several) bumps in the road, don’t get so tangled up in them that you can’t see big picture.
When it comes to your professional development, “follow your passion” is terrible advice. It’s trendy and generic advice anyone who doesn’t know what else to say throws at anyone who is at a crossroads. It isn’t always that simple. Often times we aren’t sure what our passion is, or it changes, or we’re simply passionate about many different things.
So that interview you bombed for your “dream job” that you don’t end up getting sucks now, but be mindful that there will be another dream job out there for you. Use your connections (and make new ones!) to make the next opportunity better than the first.
When you don’t see eye-to-eye with a manager, remember they are the someone who stands between you and the next step in your career. Don’t be stubborn, work with them despite your differences and show them you’re flexible enough to work with anyone.
Be okay, even welcoming, of the unexpected career opportunities given to you, even if they weren’t in your original life plan. The moment you stop thinking about ideas and plans you made that haven’t worked out is the moment something better has to opportunity to grow.
I’m not here to tell you to give up on your dreams or to not follow your passion, I am simply telling you to stop giving a shit how you get there and just do it! The path to your success is not a straight shot. Lean into the turns, celebrate your accomplishments, and don’t stop working until you feel like the winner of your life.