I spent the start of this week, including my holiday Monday, travelling to and from Toronto on business. Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably saw some of the chaos in my stories, including the fact that I caught my flight home only because of a lucky airline delay. Since our return from Europe, I have had an increased sense of clarity about my job, the kind that can only come from taking an extended break. My belief in my ability to take on new challenges has strengthened, so much so that I dared to vocalise it. I realise now that was a mistake. And I know it was also, undoubtedly, how my trip to Toronto came to pass. I said I was willing to accept more responsibility, and I had to prove it.
What I proved instead is that the title on my business card does not define me – and I am not ready to give up my personal life for a title that sounds more impressive.
There are two things I know to be true in business. The first is that by looking at my resume alone, most people would believe I my achievements far outstrip my qualifications. The second is that paper qualifications are meaningless when it comes to actually getting a job done. Degrees and designations often can’t tell you much more about a person than how long they spent studying. My Bachelor of Fine Arts will never hold me from accomplishing anything I set my mind to. In the end, what will hold me back in business is me – and after my recent trip, I know that holding myself back is the right thing.
I love my life just the way it is. I’ve said that often because it’s true. I have the freedom to travel often, to spend time cultivating this blog and writing books and improving my photography and learning new languages. This week, I spent time with a group of people whose every minute of alleged personal time has been swallowed up by work demands. People who routinely work until 11 pm on weekends. And do so, ostensibly, willingly. I hope it is because they love their jobs as much as I love what I do outside of work. But because I know the work we do is something that would be difficult to have a true passion for, I have my doubts.
It’s easy to begin to believe that you are ready for new challenges, that you can take more on. I know, because it just happened to me. But when you actually do, there is also a lot you have to give up. Like hours in the day that aren’t devoted to the relentless pursuit of getting more work done, for a start.
I never dreamed of being a successful businesswoman. I wanted a good job that would give me the freedom to pay all my bills and live life on my own terms, without financial constraints. Working in business would give me that, I thought, and I was right. I started close to a decade ago. Along the way, I’ve met people with all kinds of different visions for their career paths. Lately, I’ve spent more time with people whose main ambition is to get ahead – and I admit, that ambition rubbed off. But after seeing firsthand the costs that come with that ambition, I am officially cured of it.
Coming home was a relief. Being able to shut down my work computer at four o’clock on Wednesday felt like a small miracle. I am back in business. Not in the business of being a businesswoman, just in the business of being me. My focus is back on the things I really love. I caught up on my Greek lessons, resumed my workouts and finally bought my own camera. I know what I love, and work isn’t it. Work is just what I do so I can keep doing what I love the rest of the time.
#andotherstories #celine #aritzia #samedelman