I’ve been in my current role for ten years now. It’s the longest time I’ve spent in a job. I flitted around from job to job after college. I had no big or concrete plans and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I chose my college course for practical reasons, and the fact it let me have a little more variety than other ones offered at the time. I was too afraid to change my reliable part-time job that helped me pay for my social life so I ended up drifting into the same sector I’d always worked in after graduation.
I liked my jobs. I didn’t love them. They weren’t particularly stimulating or challenging most of the time and I don’t think I saw myself in the sector in the long-term, but I needed to earn money and I was good at what I did so I stuck with them. I then drifted into another sector for a year and at the end of that year landed the job I’m in now. It’s probably been the best use of my skills for the past decade. It’s secure, stable, and mainly enjoyable.
Today, for the first time in a very long time, my mind drifted into ‘What if’ territory. What if I had planned my career more carefully? What if I’d sought more guidance? What if I’d studied something else? What if I’d been more open to opportunities in one particular role? What if I had taken more risks? What if I hadn’t let a personality clash stop me from learning more? What if, no matter what I did, I would have ended up here anyway?
Ten years ago I wasn’t married. I wouldn’t have met my husband if I hadn’t taken this job, because we met at a party one of my colleagues hosted after I’d been in the job for a year. I wouldn’t have my children. I was living a very different life. I was a lot more confident in some ways, and a lot more insecure and unhappy in many, many others.
I’m glad I’ve had the experiences I’ve had. It’s hard not to wonder ‘What if’ though. I wonder ‘What if I’m here for another ten years, and then another, and another and then I retire? Is this it?’, and that freaks me out a little.