Raise your hand if you ever experienced a scenario like this one:
Person: So what do you do for a living?
You: Phew! I wake up at 5 AM, walk the dog, go for a jog, have a shower, get back home to pre-prep all the family’s meals for the day and ….
Person: But what do you do for a living?
You: Yes, that’s what I do for a living. I live for the things I do. I grow my own plants at home and I dedicate time in my day to attend to my hobbies. I’m also an avid reader and I’m working on getting a fashion design diploma.
Person: So you want to do fashion design for a living?
You: No, I’m studying fashion design but I haven’t yet wrapped my head around what exactly I want to do with the diploma. Maybe I’ll pursue designing, or just use it to sew my own dresses. It’s all a work in progress.
Person: So that’s all? No 9 to 5 desk job?
You: I couldn’t sit for 30 minutes straight if my life depended on it! That’s why I’m very enthusiastic about charities. I regularly visit underprivileged rural areas so I can do something good for the community while staying on my feet.
Person: Oh, you don’t have a monthly income then?
You: I don’t. I would actually do everything I’m doing now for free if it were a job because I am passionate about it and I genuinely enjoy it!
It’s the classic scenario where someone with a full-time job makes you feel less of a person just because you are not doing the same thing they are doing. I’ve been there! Despite being a full-time career person of 15 years, I still get dragged into these conversations every once and a while. Why? Because it makes the other person feel awesome about themselves!
You see, we have very limited versions of “success” and “happiness”. I mean, if you don’t drive a fancy car and get up in the morning and jump into a pair of heels and a corporate suit, what’s wrong with you? You gotta be miserable woman!
Ambition is a big thing. I mean, some people do have big corporate titles and have climbed the ladder all the way to CEO, CXO, COO, blah blah blooo level. But, I’m here to tell you that they’re not successful! There is no one size fits all way of measuring success. There’s also no one size fits all definition of ambition. For me, and may God be my witness, ambition and success are all about following your passion! Because, that’s when you’ll be happy and fulfilled, it’s what gets us out of bed every day. So, before you let someone ridicule what you “do for a living”, ask them: “What’s your passion? What do you do in LIFE?”
Regina Inani is a coach with a focus on career and lifestyle and an HR guru with many years of experience across multinationals and startups. She is addicted to reading and drinks coffee like there is no tomorrow. She’s also a content creator and a mentor.