My Medical Device Sales Career
Remember the time when people asked you what you want to be when you grow up? People begin to stop asking not only others, but certainly themselves the same question as they get into their middle twenties. My question is; Why? Why do we assume that the question is only valid for those youngsters in their teens or for those of college age? Is it because we physically stop growing by the time we are in our early twenties? Could it be that once you get plugged into your first job out of college you begin to feel that now you are destined to be within the same occupation within the same industry forever? Your only thoughts of changing careers becomes dialed in to just finding a new job that pays more?
Give yourself a jolt by asking yourself the question, "What do I want to be when I grow up and hit 40?" If you are over 40, please keep reading, perhaps this will validate what you may be asking yourself now. Those of you who are in your twenties and early thirties, perhaps this article will help you at least think about where you are currently heading in your career and life. It is this age group that calls me for a new job opportunity and when I ask them what they want to be when they are 40 years old, I hear nothing...silence, a stunned silence until they give me almost always the same answer; "I never thought of that! You are the first person to ask me, but now that you asked me the question, I never thought about it." They think a bit, "Well maybe the same thing I am doing now? Maybe my bosses job?" They speak as if I may have the answer.
With a laugh I almost always say, "Well that's funny, because you are going to work every day to the same job and each day you do it, you are developing your career path and life to what you will be when you are 40." Certainly if you are not doing your job well, you may not even be doing it when you are 40! The point of the question is to get my twenty and thirty somethings to wake up and realize they are going to be 40 one day (some of my twenty somethings think I am lying on that one, because it is so far away!) and challenge them to re-examine or in most cases, begin to dream again on what they want to be when they are 40, just like they use to when they were younger. This time they can do it with some insight to not only what that job entails, but also weigh what they want their personal life to be as well, IF THEY WOULD only ask themselves the question!
Somehow, twenty and early thirty something's feel they have arrived! They are on a career path and why think about where it could lead or if they even want to go where it is heading! I know, because I get too many calls from forty somethings asking themselves the questions in retrospect; "How did I end up here, selling medical supplies for the last 15 years and never getting promoted" or the flip side of that coin, "I attained the Senior Vice President level and my children are older now and I have not seen them grow up. How did I get here? I thought I wanted this, but I have missed so much."
This older set often tells me that they never thought about what they wanted their lives to be like well before they hit 40. They may have thought of promotions or going up the ladder, but even those people never really challenged themselves to truly dreaming about what they would like to do and then building towards it. Even fewer understood or even thought of the personal side of the equation and what it is actually like to live in a high travel and/or high pressure job. Some people thrive on it and others don't, but the point is to think about it BEFORE you end up where you don't want to be, living a life you find yourself in at the age of 40 that really isn't what you want.
A midlife crises often embodies all of these feelings and yes, perhaps those in that situation picked exactly the life and career they wanted back when they were younger, but find they don't want that life now. Perhaps life's midpoint finally made them sit down and ask, "What is it that I want in life? All I know is that I don't want this!" Perhaps, just perhaps if they asked themselves what they wanted to do and more importantly what they wanted their life to be like 15 years, maybe even 10 years earlier they wouldn't have to face the question head on at 40.
It is a lot easier to dismantle your life and career to head in a new direction when you ask yourself, "What do I want to be when I grow up and hit 40?" well before you get there. Look at others around you who are already there and look at their lives and ask yourself, "Do I want that job and life?"
Are you already 40 or well over it? It is never too late to ask yourself that same question and put the number in there that fits your stage in life. It is true, what we want in life changes at various stages as we gain life's experiences and feel our own mortality. Perhaps the point to remember, is to ALWAYS ask ourselves, "What do I want to be when I grow up and hit ___." If you are already living the life and have the job you always wanted, then BRAVO; you are who you wanted to be and now you are all grown up! Even for you lucky grown ups, still remember to ask yourself the question from time to time in case you have more growing to do!
Is it time for YOU to begin to dream again and to think of the life you could be missing? The one you want and don't fully have. Ask the question of yourself and then begin to make some changes; it may help lead you to where you want to be when you grow up and hit the number ahead of you!
©Linda Hertz, All Rights Reserved
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