I’ve lost count of the number of times in my life that I’ve been told that I can’t do stuff… Isn’t it funny how the ‘can’ts’ stick with you far longer than the ‘cans’?
I’ve been told that I shouldn’t go into Human Rights work. That I should go and work for a corporation or an oil company where I’ll be guaranteed to earn the big bucks. That my career path is a waste of my Economics degree. That I should think about “the class of person I want to marry in the consideration of my career”. Yup. Somebody actually said that to me. That was in 2013, how times have progressed. Ha. And the most ludicrous part of this? All these things were said to me by various different people, who I’d only just met. They didn’t even know me.
I’ve been told that my dream job isn’t out there. That working in an office is just the way it is. That I should accept the status quo because nothing’s going to change that.
Reeeeeally? (Mini disclaimer – nothing against offices per se here, I just don’t think they’re for me!)
I’ve been told that I eat “weirdly”. Because apparently eating meat and vegetables for lunch is a strange thing to do? (They should see some of the stuff I make at home…)
Now, I’m not perfect. I admit it, I’ve judged people on perceptions before. That their career path is a bit illogical considering their background, or even the other way round. That their putting processed food into their bodies. But I’ve got a lot better at taking a step back lately. Their life isn’t mine. What they are doing, and what I am doing for that matter, isn’t impacting on other people. I have absolutely no grounding to criticise them. Just because I want to do, arguably, a slightly different job, or because I want to eat the way I do doesn’t make me any better than anybody else. Their decision is their’s and my decision is mine.
Yet, I can’t help but notice that most of these comments come out when somebody is going against the status quo. That’s when we, as a human race, seem to believe that we have the basis to critique the person who dares to break the mold. It seems that because I don’t want a typical Economics graduate’s career, and because I eat slightly different to the majority of the British population, that it is okay to critique me. It isn’t.
I am going to follow my slightly ‘alternative’ career path. I am going to continue dreaming of creating my perfect job which doesn’t involve me being in an office all day. And I sure as hell am going to keep on eating the way I do, because it makes me feel bloody awesome.
And what about those that disagree? Try and take it with a big old pinch of salt. As chances are, the people critiquing you are doing so because they find your differentness makes them uncomfortable… Who knows, maybe you’re making them question the path they’ve chosen. The best you can do is hold your ground.
How have people picked up on the slightly different things you do? Have you ever noticed yourself accidentally doing the same to others?