I’ve recently started a habit of reading again. The last bout was approximately 25 years ago when I as a 13 year old student when I read the whole series of Agatha Christie’s suspense novels just because my recess partners were only keen to hang out at the library during our snack break in school. It was great though because never in my life have I read that many books in the course of a year. That chance occurrence did made known to me that I do have an affinity with books. 😁
I’d finished the fiction novel, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan, a few days back and it was an utterly enjoyable read for my morning train ride to work. I loved the use of imageries (loads of them) to describe minute details and the glimpse into Chinese mode of thinking during the 1940s, the juxtaposition between Chinese tradition, superstition of mothers and the American ways in which their daughters were inevitably brought up in. I’d give this book 2 thumbs up!
This week, I decided to start on a non-fiction book by Shawn Achor called The Happiness Advantage. It was in fact a book bought by the hubs recently because he figured he needed some motivation in life, but this somehow became my read. In gist, Shawn Achor writes that many of us thinks that to achieve happiness in life, we need to be successful first, whether it is getting that promotion, pay raise or the likes. On the contrary, we really should be looking at creating our own happiness first before success ensues. And again, there’s a distinction between creating happiness vs pursuing happiness. Creating puts us in the driver seat while pursuing sounds like blind following.
I’m still in midst of the book but another point that jumped right out to me was whether what we do is a ‘job’, ‘career’ or ‘calling’. To be honest, as far as I know, doing a ‘job’was never an option for me. You see, as I was growing up, I was pretty much the ambitious kid who was told by mom to study hard and do well. Inherently, I had high hopes for myself and my dream was to become a businesswoman, my own boss. And so in the same vein, I decided to do Business Administration in the university before embarking my career path which was joining the family business. That was Jan 2004 and I left after 1 year and 3 months because many factors came into play and being the person I suddenly became around Jun 2000, I chose to chicken out. I started my corporate climb in Apr 2005 in the banking industry but because I was never quite convinced about this being a viable option in my choice list, I staggered.
After 13 years and plenty moments in between of wondering what-the-heck I was doing in my job, or rather, doing to my career, I decided to shift gears. Honestly, the person I am today is quite vastly different from the person I was in before I went to university, at university and then 13 years of fulltime work. I morphed from a quietly confident kid (in my studies at least) to a totally insecure young adult who suffered 2 years of depression and then the next 15 years of thinking I’m okay but not exactly was if you get what I mean. For 15 years, I was literally anxious about many things and was just afraid of people in general – afraid of offending, or being unlikeable (not that I should care if I think about it now). Wierd, isn’t it?
About the person I am today, I feel more ready. Perhaps it is a mental shift that occurred in me when I decided to do something about changing gears and reinventing 1 year back. I can’t quite figure my choices these days because being the old me 20 years back, I’d never have made the same choices. These days, I’d choose rather tactically. For instance I chose to move from working in Financial Markets to Trust Administration just because I was curious to know how well-heeled are the well-heeled. 😆
The thing is, I felt freer, supposedly happier and things are more intuitive? Perhaps there is a structure to things and given the upheaval state right now at the office, we have all but to swim rather than conform much. But it brings me back to my main point of this post – is what I do a job, career or calling? By right, I’d taken up this offer as a job but by left, I’m trying to make the most out of it by working my rounds with the people. I figured I loved people, team camaraderie and making things work out well collectively. I don’t exactly like the word ‘career’ now because I don’t think I have any to boot according to society’s standards. That’s a shame to me. And anything that’s a shame should just be left alone.
I figured I have a calling and it has somewhat got to do with dealing with people and building collectives. I never saw myself as a collective-ish type of person, but secretly collectiveness has crept into my heart over the course of time. How else should I define this? Is this it?