I just wanted to share a few thoughts on a very interesting article that was shared by over 3K people thanks to the Harper’s Bazaar.
“But I was a workaholic. Because I loved my job so much, it was my identity. So I quit. I was so sad and hurt. My job was the only relationship I was in. Now that it was gone, it terrified me. »
I find it sad when people narrow their identity to a job. Working in HR, I see how we recruit and select people for job openings. We do take people into account but sometimes we also take a reverse approach and think in terms of tasks/workflow/positions. I believe in developing other areas in life than just the professional one, so when you lose your job, the rest of your life is here to support you and help you get through it.
To all my workaholic friends out there (and I have a lot) this is very true. Don’t invest all your time and energy in your job, even if it’s a passion. I have seen people spend too much time at work, prioritizing work over family or friends, and starting to lose them. Little by little. Because very few people will wait for you and accept that you give them less importance than a job. And when it’s gone, there’s nothing left to do and no one to complain to!
“That trip [to India] changed my life. The people there were so happy. I could just see the pure joy in their eyes that made me think I was doing something wrong in my life and that my priorities were not right. At home, everybody is miserable and unhappy that they don’t have the latest iPhone.”
I read a lot about people going to India, adoring or hating the experience. India is a country that does not leave you indifferent. Because the minute you get out of the plane, you just get caught by the humidity, the different scents, the sounds, the crowd of people… I do believe travelling to India can change the way you see life in the Western world. But it’s becoming a cliché! And I think this is a little simplistic. Indians might be happy, but trust me, they also want the latest iPhone !
I remember when I was a kid, I came back from a trip to Mumbai where I learnt that instead of giving money to homeless kids, you should give them food, and I learnt how to share my cookies with them, to make sure they would eat something. And I came back to France, and all of these kids were complaining about the food in the school restaurant…I thought that they should all go to India! I think I was 8 years old. I was already helping the teacher correct mistakes on my friends’ homeworks. I wanted to be a journalist. I must have been so annoying lol
“I went from being a workaholic completely focused on my career to having no attachments. They kept asking, « What are you running away from? » Nobody understood that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. […]Even as my website’s earnings grow, I still maintain the same lifestyle. You don’t really need as much to be happy as you think you do. The knowledge that you have the freedom to design your own life is incredibly freeing. We’re not programmed to think like this.”
In France, we are always asked “what do you want to do when you are older?” We are also very good at putting people in boxes. Start your career as an accountant; end your career as an accountant. In the US I feel like students are pressured to always excel in everything they do, just for the sake of it; for the sake of being successful and driven. They have to do the right thing, follow the right path… Society puts a lot of pressure on people and when people take a step in another less-travelled route, society questions it and does not necessarily understand it. It is considered as failure, being lost or crazy. I this this is a very interesting point. I wish our education systems would invite us to think more when we study, not when things blow in our face when we lose a job or struggle to find one for months.
“The hardest thing about this lifestyle is not having a community. The first couple of years meeting new people all the time was fun and exciting, but I do miss having those friendships. My job is also isolating since I work on my own.”
Living abroad, I completely understand this point. Feeling isolated for not settling and taking the time to stick with one community, feeling like you don’t belong, like you are an outsider, not part of this community. Arriving to a new place and not being part of an established ecosystem like it cen be the case in one’s hometown. I think it’s the biggest challenge of people who go and live abroad, especially in the first two months, putting aside everything logistic and administrative. Working in an office makes it much easier to meet people. You start hanging out with a few colleagues and if you’re lucky (and nice) enough, you start meeting their friends and so on and have the chance to create your position in a new ecosystem.