Romanticizing your career is a dead end

There is no such thing as a soulmate when it comes to your career.

Just like in the world of romance, career’s reputation is fraught with misconceptions. There is the assumption we will progress gracefully and linearly from high school to university to perfect, fulfilling jobs as though we are effortlessly checking items off our bucket lists.

This stereotype is just as damaging as romcom fallacies such as love at first sight and the knight in shining armour.

Your career is not a predictable build-up to a cinematic smooch where suddenly and romantically everything falls into place. Reality is much more complex.

Most millennials can expect to have around 15 different jobs in their lifetimes. This trajectory suggests a murkier reality than many young workers expect.

There is more than one right occupation for everyone. This career consultant enjoys her career, but a career as a librarian, teacher or occupational therapist could have been equally meaningful.

For each of us there are multitudes of possible happy endings, but still the myth of the one true occupational love persists.

Just as societal pressures complicate our view of romance, they also stamp on healthy careers. It is OK to be undecided. It is OK to take risks, fail and figure things out gradually.

Stop searching for your one-and-only when it comes to your career. Instead, enjoy the journey. Embrace opportunity and seek out the activities that bring you joy.

Your career is not about monogamy. It is okay to date around a bit. Maybe even engage in a little career polygamy.

Be promiscuous.

Have a one-night stand with an occupational idea you are not ready to take home to mother.

You would not marry someone you had not taken for a test drive or two. You need to determine whether you are compatible with any of your career possibilities before you make a commitment.

And even if you immerse yourself in a field, this does not prevent you from continuing to grow, changing and taking on new adventures later. Just as you outgrew your geeky high school lover, it is completely normal to outgrow a profession and move on.

Be brave enough to put yourself out there and try new things in the name of your career. Let go of the restrictive vision you had for your future.

It is okay to piece together a meaningful career out of more than one position that will fulfill you in different ways.

In the gig economy of the current era, flexibility of this sort is ideal.

Some young people are paralyzed by the anxiety of being career-undecided. They feel they must uncover a clear target job in order to be happy. This paralysis is a function of the soulmate fantasy.

A career is a journey not a destination.

Yours is already happening, whether or not you have realized it yet.

Your career will ebb and flow. It will hit terrible turbulence that will make you question what the hell you are doing with your life.

It will refocus, with life becoming the priority in your work life balance. Or vice versa.

If you are lucky, your career will also reach fulfilling peaks of honeymoon proportions, where you feel fully engaged and excited about what you are doing in that moment.

Just as modern romance has progressed beyond society’s historical expectations, bring your expectations for your career into 2019.