Last year when I was struggling with my career decision, I ignored advice from a friend who had a similar experience. I told her that she would not be able to understand my situation because I don’t have a support system in place like her. One of the factors is the security one might feel if a spouse is there to help with financial needs and give moral support. Before making that statement, I did not realise her concerns like the loss of financial independence, struggle to get established in a new field, fear of the unfamiliar, fear of the failure and consistent nagging from family on life choices. I assumed it’s easier for her because her mother and husband stand by her side. I thought sometimes support of the loved ones is enough.
I mentioned something similar to an acquaintance last month who had recently quit her job to become a writer. Her reaction told me I was wrong. She calmly responded, ‘the support is there today, but you don’t know about tomorrow.’ Last week I saw a glimpse of this ‘tomorrow’. After five years of dedicated work in the field of her choice, my friend felt family pressure to reconsider her professional priorities in favour of higher financial rewards. That put a lot of things in perspective for me.
To begin with, no one making a ‘risky’ career choice is immune to challenges and self-doubts. Just like I assumed she will not be able to understand my challenges as a single woman living alone, I was not able to understand her challenges as a married woman with a child. Mind would continue to create an emotional chaos; and everyone would need to make a personal choice – fear or hope. Everyone goes through this phase. And by dismissing their challenges, we are just undermining their achievements.
Secondly, moral and financial support from family is never a guarantee. Just like career decision seems uncertain because we don’t know future rewards, the personal support system is equally uncertain for the exact same reason – ‘one cannot predict future’.
The only thing one can have is belief and trust. It’s trust in one’s relationship and love that allows one to rely on that support. Or it’s belief in one’s abilities that allows one to take a difficult career path.
Trying to predict future can be a waste of time. Sometimes, you just need to believe.