In the pursuit of soothing music for our baby, my husband recently staged a comeback for Cat Stevens.
As a result, I’ve been listening to Father & Son a lot lately.
There’s one section of the song that hits me hard every time I hear it.
“All the times that I’ve cried, keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it.”
This describes 95% of the clients who approach me for help. And I’d suspect it describes the majority of people out there who are unhappy in their work.
These lyrics describe a parent-child conversation. And some of us have chosen vocations that we believe will fulfill our parents’ expectations for us, whether spoken or unspoken. However, these expectations don’t always come from our parents.
Culturally, many of us come with baggage about what an acceptable career might be. Those ideas might come from our extended community, or from society at large. They may relate to our gender, our religion, or our nationality.
To illustrate, picture a woman becoming a professional skydiver. Now imagine she’s from the middle east. Or a man selling crafts out of his home. Now place him in a machismo society. There surely are people in such positions, but imagine the comments they’d get at a cocktail party.
Unfortunately, with built-in expectations following us around, we must summon courage at each stage of the journey – to search for work that we love, to admit what it is that we love, and to pursue it.
In order to avoid the pain of rejection, many of us try to ignore our unhappiness with our work situation. And that’s when it starts showing up elsewhere.
Unhappiness at work translates into unhappiness outside of work, and – when ignored over time – unhappiness can lead to health problems.
So, while it’s hard to come out of the work closet, as Cat says, “it’s harder to ignore it.”
“There’s a way” to follow your dreams, people. Look your demons straight in the eye. And tell them what you really think. What’s the worst they could say?