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We Are Not in Kansas Anymore Toto. Discovering and Following your Yellow Brick Road

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by Ali Helou

5 months ago

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Individuality is what makes us great, I know it’s a slight paradox, but please hear me out. Imagine we all had the same aspirations, the same dreams, the same love for a certain genre of music and the same taste in cuisines. Boring right? But what’s even worse and a far scarier thought than a bland world, is a world where a society tells you “this is what you should be doing” and “this is what classifies you as successful and that successful people are happy people”. It then boxes you into categories like some sort of divergent dystopian movie (I would totally be Dauntless BTW).

A CEO on her way to work takes a taxi every morning and every morning the taxi driver uses the same route and passes the same beach. Also, every morning the CEO notices the same man, in a pair of thongs (flip flops to my non- Australian friends), a singlet and shorts, lying down on the beach doing absolutely nothing. Weeks pass and one day the CEO, intrigued with this man, tells the taxi driver to pull up as she wants to speak with him. The CEO enquires as to why he is there and tells the man he should get a job, to do something with his life, make it meaningful. The man replies, “why,  so I go to work for 40 hours a week until I am of the fragile age of 65, get married along the way, have kids and buy a house...so then I can relax like I’ve been doing for the past 5 weeks, I’ve just skipped a few steps.”

Now I am not saying by any means not to do anything with your life, or to have no ambitions and goals, I’m merely saying that people measure happiness in different ways. I spoke with gentlemen today who asked me “what does my background and skill set match so I know which jobs I should apply for?” Now as a consultant, it is my job to match people to certain roles based on their skill set and I gave him a list of roles he would be able to perform based on his previous roles, but I also asked him, “what is it you want to do, what would make you happy?” I didn’t expect a response at that moment, it is a big question which requires a lot of thought. He replied,  ”Ali, I’ve never thought about that”… now imagine that we are all so busy stuck in our occupational bubbles, that we forget about the one thing, which in my opinion, should be the highest priority, our own personal happiness and wellbeing.

Now, sure some measure their happiness with their occupations, others by how they spend their downtime and some, a blend of the both. The truth is, it is a far more complex issue to just point at one thing and define it as happiness. You need trial and error, you need to hit the low points in order to appreciate the high points, to find your own Yellow Brick Road to your ideal job.

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