What I Wish I Knew Before I Started A “Real” Career

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the dichotomy between “jobs” and “careers,” particularly since starting my Ask Chelsea Anything column, which, without fail, receives a question about that dichotomy at least once a week. People are stuck in what feels like a quicksand of “jobs” while aspiring to something more long term; they are in a capital-C Career which doesn’t feel right, but which feels too big to leave or risk; they are questioning whether or not their path is “normal,” or if it’s taking them too long to get settled into something. When it feels like everyone around you has their professional life figured out (which, I assure you, they don’t), the job hunt can start to feel more like a race — and one which you are distinctly losing.

So in this week’s video, I talked about the phenomenon from my perspective, focusing on how my own need to prove to myself (and everyone else around me) that i had a “real” career made my life unnecessarily hard. That pressure led me to, among other things, get fired from several jobs, as well as go through long periods where I felt ashamed of what I was doing. I was the kind of person who didn’t take work seriously unless it was the perfect situation, and who was so defined by the work I did that I went out of my way to hide many sources of my income, because I didn’t like the label that the less-impressive jobs put on me.

If I could go back, I would have done a lot of things differently, so perhaps my mistakes can be your gain. If you feel somewhat lost professionally, this video is for you.

Image via Pexels

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