Job or Career?

30 Nov

Is it a job? Is it a career??

Last month, I commemorated a whole year of being “employed” as a Data Manager for a clinical trials unit; a field I didn’t even know existed. After committing to my decision to NOT pursue a career in Law, it was back to the drawing board for me. I spent numerous months, researching the internet for career options; doing personality test after test trying to find the perfect job that provided a stable income whilst combining my skills, interests and most importantly my PASSIONS! I had many doubting days that I’d never find it but instead be subject to working in a job I loathed, that barely paid and left me with little or no time to do other things I enjoyed.

In the midst of my long-term career search, I serendipitously stumbled into this role. It was 100% unintentional. But like most things in life, there are no coincidences. From starting as a Temp in February 2013, going to Thailand for 6 months and then being made the permanent Data Manager in February 2014, the whole process mirrored parts of Hansel and Gretel’s story, where I followed a trail of white pebbles and found myself at a place I could call home. It completely changed my standpoint on the whole “working” front.



I wasn’t particularly passionate about working in clinical trials. I just looked at the skills required and realised this was something I could do. I guess that’s why they call them transferable skills, because even though I had no experience or knowledge of clinical trials I was able to develop and apply my general abilities in a variety of jobs. Apparently, we spend one third of our day sleeping. Working 9-5 was another third of my day leaving me with the final third for evening activities. But it occurred to me that regardless of how we divide and allocate our 24 hours, each moment adds up and makes the day. The key is to try and find meaning in whatever you are currently doing and this is much easier to do if you view it as a part of life rather than just a job or a particular career path. Not everything that happens in life do we welcome so eagerly, yet everything we experience brings lessons that we can heed or reject. So if you choose a job or career that you hate, there are opportunities to learn and grow and make changes accordingly or you can spend a great portion of your life being unhappy for no valid reason.

The choice is YOURS!

The choice is YOURS!

Working as a Data Manager wasn’t part of my career path; it was just something temporary until I found “The Perfect Career”. Yet I’d turn up every day, and leave feeling filled with the new things I’d learnt on Excel, a database or about pregnancy. The trial I’m working on comes under the Institute for Women’s Health and seeks to provide evidence to which position is better during second stage labour with an epidural in situ. (I know, I know; how sophisticated and knowledgeable do I sound!) It was just so relevant because I knew one day, I’d be pregnant and all this information would be useful. I became familiar with medical terms and even with the nature of a midwife’s role. I have an AMAZING boss, who is very knowledgeable in various areas and has taught me so many things in the workplace and about life in general. She always offered support beyond the standard employer-employee relationship. I respect her both professionally and personally and as she’s a mentor, she’s also someone I consider a friend. Some tasks were really mundane and mind-numbing (aka, data entry) so I was able to listen to podcasts and audiobooks. So even at work I was working on my personal development and feeding myself spiritually. Then to top it off I was getting paid a great salary that was more than enough.

I can honestly say there’s only been ONE day I hated my job. And of course not every day a “happy day” but every day was truly a learning day. At times the work was challenging, and I messed up numerous times. Of course, there have been lazy days, where I didn’t want to get out of bed and go anywhere, let alone to work. But once I was eventually at work (even if I was counting hours till I was reunited with my bed), I was happy to be there. Staying past 5 was never an issue. I would regularly stay until 6 or 7pm just to get tasks finished. I put in the extra effort without being asked to, knowing I wouldn’t get paid overtime.

Right Said!!

Rightly Said!!

It wasn’t just an ordinary job or career; it was something I could learn from. It was another part of my life that needed watering and attention. I didn’t do it because I first loved it, but I ended up loving it because I made the most of it. I realised career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?’ but about ‘what kind of life do I want to set up for myself’. They can be so one-dimensional and stressing and straining to discern some enchanted single pathway of bliss is a futile exercise for most as we are so multi-talented. There are a range of things one could be doing, using all kinds of life-skills and talents. For example, a parent is a manager, a teacher, a doctor. A friend is a counsellor, an event organiser, a volunteer. A student is a writer, a researcher, a musician. A child is an actor, a veterinarian, a lawyer. A husband is a mechanic, an electrician, a cook. Even an “unemployed person” is an entrepreneur, a graphic designer, a spiritualist. Identify your skills and talents that are valuable, hone them and use them at every opportunity.

It's all part of the same puzzle...

It’s all part of the same puzzle…

Sometimes life it’s not always so glamorous. It can be just so simple. Let your career be to make the most out of your life because it’s your job to find meaning and fulfilment in whatever you do. It’s what you do that defines you. But this isn’t just a job title. These are in the choices we make and the attitudes we have towards our living. Live your life and work hard at it. But most importantly, ENJOY IT!!! There are ups and downs, seasons we love or not but in the end we must grow through Life.

I have found calmness in the midst of craziness.
Ms Tola xx


4 Responses to “Job or Career?”

  1. Liliane Goualin December 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Thanks Tola! Today coincidentally (or maybe not) I was thinking about my career path and about keeping my mind open so I can still incorporate my passions no matter where I work, reading this all I can say is you literally hit the nail in its head for me! Thank u!


  2. ivyadjei December 2, 2014 at 1:16 am #

    Love this. It is a beautiful piece. Saying how you truly feel are at times very hard to put in words to name others understand and where U are coming from, but this, well I get it, I really do. Thanks for sharing your life with us. X


  3. Funke January 1, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I love this piece..keep it up xxx



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