Advice Inspiration Life Reality

Is the grass always greener? Are non-traditional career paths the key to happiness?

As we weed-wack our way through our own paths in life, we sometimes can't help but wonder if something better is waiting for us just over that white picket fence. We've all been there . . . gazing longingly at our neighbor's lawn.

It seems effortless, novel, and illustriously greenHow does this translate when we're talking about a career vs. a non-traditional career path?


We asked a few trailblazing women to honestly, and anonymously, answer*:

*We got so many incredible, goose bump-invoking responses from you (thank you!), we will be releasing the responses broken out in multiple posts for readability sake.

 How do you currently, *truly* feel about the path that you're on?


This is what you told us:

On the corporate path:

// 30: I'm in product development at a big fin tech 

I'm really unhappy about my current situation and feeling a bit helpless and hopeless.

I don't like my job, I'm not learning as much, and I am wasting my time and my education on something that has little potential growth.

I've been interviewing non-stop and kept failing these interviews, which is really discouraging. I keep fighting with friends and family about what I should do, need to do, and feeling overall confused.

I do appreciate the security that comes with my current job. I most miss flexibility, lack of creativity, and am frustrated with the repetitive nature of the work.


 Working for a small startup:

// 23: I'm an engineer at a small startup 

I'm feeling...excited, but nervous. I left my previous company a couple weeks ago for this startup. My old company was as close to my dream job as I thought I would get. But I had an offer on the table for this new company that was too good to pass up. I can't get rid of that voice in my head wondering: "What if I stayed?"

This startup I'm at is either going to totally kill it and be awesome, maybe get bought out --- or it'll fall by the wayside. And I think it's going to be the former.

It's a lot of work that I didn't expect. Because it's so small, there's a lot of little things I never had to take care of before. I don't mind terribly doing that extra work, but at the same time, I feel like it's taking away from what I want to be doing.

Honestly, this was the biggest change I probably could have made at this point. If I do change my path, it'll be to become a manager. transition:

// 29: I left finance and am about to start coding boot camp

I'm so nervous! I don't know if I'll even be hirable after this boot camp, and I don't know if this will make me any happier than finance did. I feel stuck and overwhelmed by all of the seemingly successful people that NYC is full of.

I like that I'm going to learn a new skill, and I'm excited to have more ownership of my path versus working for a massive corporation.


 ...going for it on your own:

// 33: I’m a recent founder

Now I’m more on top of things after an adjustment period of 2.5-3 months.

Initially, there were TONS of ups and downs. I'm sure that part isn't completely over yet, but I definitely feel more sane now. The key for me was self-care self care self care - and a really supportive dream team (friend, boyfriend, family, therapist, coach, private pilates instructor, and Dreamers // Doers!).

My days can still get derailed a bit - or not go to plan - but it feels less like a derailment and more like a new path/meandering.


// 27: I’m both an entrepreneur and an artist

I feel like a baby taking my first few steps. It's super scary and also exciting. But my biggest fear is of me quitting. Therefore, I promised myself: I can't quit, I won't quit.

I feel lonely, and not like I'm part of a big cause. Sometimes I look at friends who are working for Airbnb and Uber and I daydream about doing the same thing. But then I have to snap back to my reality that I'm trying to make something out of myself here. And that's very different from being part of some established or a disruptive entity (no matter how awesome those entities are).

That being said, I recently realized that too much "encouragement, inspiration, etc" can be a BAD thing, too, for ambitious people, at least it is for me. I found it lessens my ambition by giving instant gratification.


// 26: I'm a founder of a consultancy

Honestly, right now I feel debilitated, depressed, useless.

I co-founded a company. My business partner has taken the lead for the projects that are bringing in the money (due to a language need). I don’t earn enough to live in my own room; I haven't had enough cash to replace worn out shoes, a proper winter coat, or to purchase a ticket to visit my dying grandfather. Whatever money I have goes towards necessities.

I’ve been in this situation for 3 years. Frankly, I’m tired of trying. I keep pressing forward, to keep trying something new, hoping that the odds will be in my favor...I feel like the "weaker one" in my business partnership; I feel like a crummy friend and sister for not being able to buy my loved ones a little something for their birthdays; I feel as if my life was headed somewhere great 3 years ago, and then I took a wrong turn, and now, I’m treading for water.

I appreciate that I get to work for myself; I strategize plans, growth, partnerships, use my brain in all sorts of ways. And I get to meet the smartest, coolest people.

I'm far away from family and friends. I used to be the most detached person, less "feely", if you will. Now I realize how precious and life-giving those relationships are. Why am I not closer?




Sometimes we are tempted to give up, to take the easier route, to put ourselves in a place that is simply comfortable.

So the question we can each ask ourselves is: If I take a different/ easier path in my journey, will it really be more comfortable?

And most importantly:


Will I look back with regret? 


Whether we are here for a long-winded while, or just a passing, humbling moment:

We are here for some reason—a lesson, a laugh, a realization.



Your turn: How are you feeling about the path you are currently on? How did reading the unfiltered thoughts above make you feel?

[PS: And in case you do ever need it -- we love this piece: "Questions to ask before giving up"]  

Share your thoughts


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