Several friends of mine are new mothers and, as they have related their tales of pregnancy, it’s easy to pick out two common themes (that I promise are related to finding career fulfillment): 1) everyone can tell you (unsolicited) the best way to be pregnant, and 2) if someone has a horror story, settle in; they’re going to tell you.
“When I was pregnant I had morning sickness every day. It stopped when I gave up eating all purple foods between half past and a quarter till the hour.” “I felt so great I started a new exercise regime I’ll give my trainer’s number. You should call him.”
“I was gaining weight faster than you’re supposed to until I gave up gluten and all foods that started with the letter G.” “I never looked better in my life than when I was pregnant and I started a modeling career. You should consider getting head shots.”
“You’re still drinking coffee! Sure it’s only a cup a day, but it’s still a risk to the baby. I gave up everything that gave me any sense of satisfaction.” “One glass of wine won’t hurt. My mother drank every night and look at me, I’m fine.”
“You should have a natural birth with a doula!” “Are you crazy, natural birth? You should have an epidural.”
“The nurse told me I had the longest delivery time in the history of the hospital and slept for 48 hours when it was over.” “The baby came so fast we barely made it to the hospital. My water broke at work in my boss’s office.”
If you’ve ever had any doubt, in any capacity, about your career you know it’s got a lot in common with being pregnant. You are not unique. Lots of people have experienced uncertainty about their career. But your experience is unique to you and you are the only one living it.
It can be comforting to be reminded that you’re not the alone. Lots of people have been unsure about what job they’re most suited for. Lots of people find networking nerve racking. Lots of people worry that they’re in a rut. Hearing about other people’s experiences can provide insight into your own – up to a point. When you hear so much about other people’s experience you begin to internalize their experience as what yours should or will look like, you’ve heard too much. It’s time to step back and remind yourself that you are unique, and you need to make decisions that are unique to you.