I grew up on a farm. Most farmers I knew had a second job. Sometimes that was a day job. Sometimes it was a weekend job. Their passion was farming. That's what defined them. It was their identity. But it was not always enough to pay the bills. When we find ourselves out of work and struggling to land that next rung on the career ladder, we may need to consider a side hustle to pay the light bill. There is nothing wrong with that. It is not giving up. It is just a matter of being practical. In this post, I'll explore the value of alternative work and dealing with the challenges of being on parallel tracks.
The Parallel Pathways
Just as farmers find themselves tending to their crops and concurrently embracing another job, many professionals also traverse a similar journey. Finding the right fit in your career might compel you to embrace alternative work roles that, on the surface, may seem divergent from your ultimate career goals. Accepting these roles, even temporarily, requires a mental and emotional adjustment. In some cases, you may find that parallel path more compelling. Allow for the possibility.
Emotional Whirlwind and Acceptance
Feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and disappointment might surface when accepting work that doesn’t align with your envisioned career trajectory. It’s vital to acknowledge these emotions without allowing them to overwhelm you into inaction. Acceptance is not about resignation; rather, it’s about embracing the present, taking advantage of your circumstances with optimism.
Lessons from the Farm: The Seed of Resilience
Farmers often exhibit a remarkable resilience, demonstrating that every role, no matter how seemingly incongruent with our envisioned path, teaches us something valuable. Here are some ways to navigate through the emotional and practical challenges:
- Find the Silver Lining: Seek the skills and experiences that you can glean from the alternative job. Whether it's strengthening your communication, leadership, or technical skills, every job provides a learning opportunity.
- Maintain Your Vision: Keep your ultimate career goal in sight. Engage in activities that keep you aligned with your desired path, such as networking, attending workshops, or pursuing further education.
- Celebrate Small Wins: Every step, no matter how small, is a progression towards your goal. Celebrate the skills you are acquiring and the people you are meeting along the way.
- Seek Support: Engage with a community or a group who understands your journey. Sharing experiences, venting frustrations, and obtaining advice can be profoundly stabilizing.
Pivoting with Positivity
Farmers often pivot according to seasons and demands, just as you may need to pivot in your career journey. Be fluid and adaptable, embracing opportunities that come your way. Sometimes, the off-beaten path may reveal vistas previously unimagined. It might be in the form of a contact, a skill, or an entirely new career direction that resonates with you unexpectedly.
The Harvest of Your Efforts
Ultimately, the seeds you sow during this transitional phase will bear fruit. Just as farmers patiently wait for the harvest, believing in the potential of their efforts, your persistence and adaptability during challenging career phases will pave the way for rewarding outcomes.
Navigating through the unexpected twists and turns of your career, especially while shouldering the emotional weight of working in a role outside of your desired field, is a challenging yet enriching journey. Embracing the lessons from small farm farmers, let us carry forward the seeds of resilience, optimism, and unwavering spirit towards a future where every experience contributes to the rich tapestry of our career progression.