As long as I can remember, I have been asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up”. Two issues are being discussed here: 1- when do you officially grow up and 2 – what the heck are you going to do when you get there. So it looks like I am officially grown up and the question has evolved slightly. It is now “where do you see yourself headed.” Basically, the grown up train is moving quickly, in which direction are you headed?
That being said, on Tuesday I had the pleasure of chatting with Emily Jasper – take some time to get to know her, she’s great. We spoke for a bit about different aspects of our careers, our working styles, and of course where we are headed next. It was a great conversation but when she asked me where I was headed, I hesitated for a minute. It was the first time I have ever not had that the “beauty pageant” answer for her. You know; that well rehearsed, direct answer that is so flawless because you have been focused on it. Yeah — I had nothing.
I realized I don’t know where I wanted to go next. I am currently so focused on the now/future of my position and community that I have lost sight of where I want to go. Even more shocking to me was the fact that I don’t mind even a little bit.
I can confidently say, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and it’s fine.” You may think I am crazy or that I am losing sight of my goals but I think it would be almost ignorant for me to state that I’m going to be “this,” or that I am going to be “here.”
I am the first person to tell you that you should be driven, have goals, and work your butt of to get there. But I also want you to know that it is okay if you aren’t sure where your next steps are or who you want to be. Business is constantly evolving, roles are changing, and the economy – well you all know where the economy is. I feel like it would be slightly ignorant of me to say that by the time I am 30 I am going to be “here” doing “this.” Well “here” and “this” are dependent on so many variables and most of those variables are NOT stationary. They are changing, growing, declining, and even evaporating.
Two years ago when I moved to NYC I thought I wanted to be in a trendy PR firm in the city, dressing the part, and working like crazy. Nothing was going to stop me. Well, I got that job offer and what did I do with it? I turned down it down for marketing/community manager position at a start-up. You know what? I couldn’t be happier. That’s right – I threw my “when I grow up” out the window.
I may not know where I’m going to be when I turn 30 or where my career is headed; what I do know is that I am going to work my butt off, stay focused on the next steps, and do everything in my power to be successful. Bring it!
How many of you are with me? How many of you think I’m nuts? What is your “when I grow up” plan and what would it take for you to throw it out the window?