I have barriers standing between me and a dream career that makes me feel fulfilled, instead of obligated.
Recently I woke up depressed. I don’t mean to negate the feelings of depression for those who suffer daily, but it was my first experience with real depression about my dream career.
I woke up in a haze. Made the kids lunch, dropped them off at school, and came home. The moment I walked in the door, instead of being productive as planned, I cried. Then I cried again. Two more times.
My feeling of depression arose from the realization of three barriers that stood between me and my dream career: financial limitations & responsibilities, imposter syndrome, and burnout.
I realized that until I address these barriers face on and find a way to work through them, I will never find success in my dream career.
These barriers are a hindrance to my growth and happiness.
Financial Limitations & Responsibilities
My current job is unrelenting and I feel like I can never leave the office. On vacations, I get emails and questions about the day-to-day operations. A sick day is never really a sick day. When I do return to the office, I have a backlog of work waiting for me as no one can fill in my position. It is daunting. My day-to-day job makes it nearly impossible for me to pursue my dream job or to create the career that I feel is my calling.
I want to create a successful social media brand. To be known for my brand name (Our Small Home Life), and be the person to go to for small home living, inspirational DIY projects- visible on multiple platforms. For me though, success is measured in happiness and fulfillment, not just financial gain. However, I’m at the point financially where my family is struggling because of our responsibilities, and I can’t make the career change I desire.
And when it comes to social media, it’s a hard game to play. The algorithms are constantly changing, and it feels almost impossible to keep up. YouTube and Instagram are saturated to the point that getting recognized is challenging. Starting a blog is easy, but the growth and monetization of that blog are difficult. Stepping down from a job with stability to a world of the unknown seems mad. How can I pursue my dream career if it means financially impacting my family negatively?
Imposter syndrome is another very real barrier to success and it creeps up on me more often than I would like to admit. I’ve been blogging for the better part of two years, yet I still have a hard time calling myself a blogger. I don’t make as much money blogging as it appears that others do, so I feel as if I am an imposter. I pour my heart and soul into my content, constantly coming up with new ideas that I’m proud of and often feel defeated when they don’t go viral. That is what we all want as bloggers, right? A viral effect and lots of advertising offers?
With the imposter syndrome also comes comparison. That constant struggle of comparing my work to that of others, and not understanding where I’m going wrong. Even if I’m not actually going wrong.
Burnout is also common as an adult, and for me, it is even more prevalent when I am unhappy in my job, my current life situation, or simply depressed. Burnout presents itself in various stages, and each stage does not necessarily affect everyone. The exhaustion from burnout results in lack of motivation which becomes a cyclical downward spiral.
The stages of burnout that I have experienced increasingly over the year are:
- New Stress
- Each time I add a new idea for my work, I would begin with joy and excitement and feel the stress that was expected from the additional workload. This new stress, however, is the starting point of burnout if you don’t manage it correctly
- Chronic Stress
- I became tired more often, had no desire to complete tasks in my job, and became withdrawn from people other than my immediate family. I noticed an immense increase in my anxiety as well, with more panic attacks developing over seemingly minute scenarios.
- Self doubt and the imposter syndrome play a large roll in burnout, and I can’t tell you how many times I said to myself I need to just quit. Quit my job that pays the bills, quit the writing that brings me joy but isn’t gaining momentum. Quit and just move to the mountains with my husband and children.
- Habitual Burnout
- This results from a combination of good days and bad. For every good day at work that gives me hope, there are a handful that make me question why I’m even doing it.
Working to reignite the passion that I had for my job and writing is critical at the burnout and the habitual burnout stages. I began writing a blog for my insurance agency that has given a renewed hope that I made the right decision to stay.
At times, I am working multiple jobs so I can satisfy my 8-5 requirement and also build my own business. I am prepared to get uncomfortable to grow, but pushing my physical limits contributes to my burnout. I have reached all five stages of burnout.
Despite burnout, imposter syndrome, and the other barriers to my dream career, I am going to make some significant changes to get myself closer to my dream.
My reasons for wanting to find an alternative way to work are compelling. Recently, I listened to a podcast about how you work for someone for 52 weeks of the year. Only to enjoy a mere two weeks of vacation to yourself. Then you are stressed on that vacation because you can’t leave work behind. And you just spent all the money you worked so hard to get on bills and paying for that one small family vacation. This isn’t how I want to live. I want to be able to create moments with my children and not be sad about the upcoming work week. I want the freedom to create those moments on more than just the weekends.
To push through the burnout, and to head onto the right path of my dream career development I’m creating a challenge for myself. I respond well to challenges and deadlines, so this is productive for me. I’m also going to allow myself time to develop and achieve my career path. Awareness that this doesn’t happen overnight must be the first step, right? No longer will I tell myself I’m not talented enough to run a successful blog. That my editing and photography skills are not perfected enough to have any success on YouTube and Instagram.
I have also decided that I’m no longer going to allow the fear of “what if” stop me from pursuing the change I want for myself and my family. I want to show my kids that I’m not too scared to chase after my dreams. I’ve been keeping a journal about my accomplishments. This isn’t to toot my own horn, but rather to put in writing a list that will remind me every day what I have done and what I can do.