I could tell you a nice, clear narrative of my work life.
It’d be smooth as those ocean-washed beach stones. And it would all be true.
It would also be true that this elegant throughline was the product of hindsight, reflection, spit and polish.
And what would be equally as true is that when I was in the thick of it – reaching for those jobs, trying to discern what I wanted next – the experience felt like many things, but elegant, smooth, clear would not be any of them.
So if we find ourselves in an uncertain place in our career or we feel like we’ve fumbled, we do well to be kind to ourselves by not comparing our living, breathing messy situation to someone else’s well-reflected upon, edited and re-edited resume.
It’s like comparing apples to sawhorses. Plus, comparison misses the point.
The point isn’t me having the career that is just like yours or you having the career that would impress me. The point is each one of us risking those zigzagged, greathearted paths that are ours and ours alone to walk. And being kind to ourselves as we find our way down them.
This, as I see it, is a big piece of our work in the messy, unclear now. The nice, clear narrative? It will come, as it always does, later.