Discomfort, change, and control
These are the things I love. Looking back at my life, I can see that when I am uncomfortable with situations, I change them. What I can’t stand is complaining about situations and doing nothing.
I like being in control – who doesn’t? For me, the appeal is that I can change things that are not working for me. If I don’t have control, that is my cue to let it go – because there is nothing I can do about it!
I know this sounds really simple, but it is much easier said than done. Your life will be affected – either negatively or positively – and a major decision always comes with a sense of fear and anxiety.
I have made career u-turns from finance to marketing to business strategy and I am working on the next change right now. To do this, I have had to ask myself difficult questions and had to face difficult times when I hated my job or was no longer feeling fulfilled.
The first time I went through this process I was just 13. I was attending Inkamana High School and I was terrible at Science but I excelled at Accounting. To focus on Accounting, I had to take History and Biology which was just a combination that didn’t make sense to me. There was a lot of pressure on the young Mpume. My father and I had always talked about me becoming a doctor. The thought of disappointing him was daunting but I had to be true to myself and admit that I was not going into medicine. I decided that I had to leave Inkamana High School.
I ended up at Umlazi Commercial High, where I had to repeat Standard 8 to start studying Economics and Business Economics. Three years later, everyone in my matric class envisaged themselves as CAs, so the natural step for most of us was to register for a B.Comm. How ironic that perhaps only two people from that entire class are qualified CAs today.
I studied Accounting during my first year at university. Midway through my second year of studying Accounting, I realized that being a CA was not my life path. So I deregistered. In a twist of fate, years later I ended up working in the Financial Accounting department at Unilever!
I performed well in my finance career and I had amazing support, but I knew that dealing with month ends and financial year ends was just not for me. My personality wouldn’t survive dealing with numbers day in and day out. I had to ask myself, “What’s next?” I assessed what made sense to me and thought that marketing was a field worth exploring. And what an amazing marketing and communication career I had. Until I reached the point where I had to admit there was no excitement for me any longer. That’s when business strategy entered my world as the field I wanted to explore next. I have had a career both in and out of the corporate world. But that is another story for another day.
A big lesson through all of this for me has been realizing that when you are ready to embrace change, things just line up the way they are supposed to. There were many times when I asked myself what the hell was I doing. It made more logical sense to stick with what I was doing, even if I was not feeling fulfilled or enjoying my job. My belief is that life is too short to be in a career for the sake of money or just to pay the bills. We spend a lot of time at work so we need to enjoy what we do.
If you can relate to my story and would like somebody to guide you through your own career changes and ambitions, get in touch.
Maybe you’re just going through a process of trying to figure out which direction to take.
Let’s craft a way forward for you together – it’s all about change conversations that allow you to own your career path.