Roles, Career Options & Sense and Sensibility

Last night I sought shelter from the hideous Vancouver rain with a friend and watched the Capilano University production of Sense and Sensibility.  An adaptation by Michelle Deines, it was a beautiful production that surprised me.  Sense and Sensibility has been my favourite book since I first read it as a young girl, and although I looked forward to the play, I feared the student cast wouldn’t do it justice.  The lighting and sets were transformative without distracting your attention, and the characters shone with whimsy, confidence and humour.  The play was a joy to watch.

On the way home, my female friend and I discussed how expectations for women in the workplace have changed; we also discussed how they haven’t changed altogether.  She asked if I would have been happier in Austen’s lifetime where roles were defined and accepted.  Leaving our respective ethnicities aside, I responded that although I have struggled with choosing a direction at times, what puts me at ease is knowing that I can make a choice today and another one tomorrow.  I’m grateful for the ability to make meaningful decisions and prefer the challenge of exploration to prescribed direction.

Michelle Obama explained that she detests when children are asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up” because it suggests that careers are finite; there’s a clear beginning and end.

Michelle Obama explained that she detests when children are asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up” because it suggests that careers are finite; there’s a clear beginning and end.

I also believe that we must be honest about our passions and talents.  What makes you feel joy?  What inspires you?  What scares you enough to make positive changes?  While discussing her book Becoming during a podcast, Michelle Obama explained that she detests when children are asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up” because it suggests that careers are finite; there’s a clear beginning and an end.  I agree with this criticism because whether you choose to continue your education through formal means, it’s invaluable to be vulnerable to continued learning.  It’s humbling to acknowledge that you don’t know everything. Recognizing that we change over time, careers change as well, and that’s great! Imagine recognizing where your passions lie - what brings you joy - and imagine focusing your attention to learning more about those subjects, gaining more expertise and guiding your career towards experiencing even more of what you love.

Action is the magic that’s meant to follow passion and inspiration.  How do you convince yourself to do those things you always wanted to?  Have you ever experienced a situation at work where you doubted yourself, chose not to act, and watched someone else succeed at something you really wanted?  Perhaps you judged that person’s competence.  Maybe you wondered what made you hesitate.  Then again, it’s possible you were just disappointed with yourself. 

How can we manage our internal dialogue to inspire positive actions?  It’s Thanksgiving weekend in the United States, a time for reflection, family, and perhaps a little indulgence.  Experiencing live performances such as this one is an indulgence of my time, focus and energy.  But the inspiration, reflection and calm are outcomes that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’m grateful for the openness of my community, invitations for communication, and the space to evolve.

How does your sense and sensibility play a role in your career? What do you want to be when you grow up? What can you do to improve your work experience?