Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm On My Plan B

Not that kind of Plan B. The “Plan B” in my life plan, if you will. After Plan A didn't quite work out, there was a good chunk of time where I felt defeated for not making it work like how I'd originally planned. Was I a failure? Was I the only one feeling this way?

Apparently not. Many Generation Yers (those of us born from the 1980s to 2000), abandon our Plan As by our mid-twenties. It took a while for me to realize the importance of changing the way I framed this issue in my mind. I remember thinking, “Maybe this time it’s good to be a part of the majority.” I’ve always been open to change and excited for new opportunities. "It's okay that I'm going down a different path. Not everyone gets it right when they’re making career goals as a teenager," I told myself.


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My Plan A was to finish my undergrad by 22, graduate law school by 25, article then move up the corporate ranks as a criminal defence lawyer, heading towards partner or judge by my early forties. I’d be career-driven and probably single at 26 years old, living in a metropolitan area, working hard and making good money.

Then life threw an American gentleman my way who became a major influencer on not only my plans but my very perspective of thinking. Fast forward to today, I’m so happy that I listened to my heart and my gut and didn’t force Plan A to happen. Plan A turned out to be completely different from what I thought it was going to be. I’m currently on my Plan B and here we are, happy and together, making it work, making adjustments as we go.

I’ve learned that checking off items on a list, making a certain amount of money, or the prestige of a job title isn’t what makes me happy. To be totally honest, the best part of my day is coming home to my husband and seeing how excited he is to greet me. I immediately feel more centered and at peace. This summer as we’ve gone on our mini-vacations and racked up huge road trip points spending hours upon hours in the car together, we shared so many exciting dreams and thoughts of the future with each other [sidenote: sorry about being such a sap! It's the newlywed in me].

I’ve learned that when it comes to my career, personal satisfaction, fulfilling a sense of purpose, and enjoying a flexible work-life balance are of invaluable importance. As others navigating through their 20s and their adulthood are also likely experiencing, life can really change from how you might have pictured it unfolding in your head. It can be so different, yet so satisfying.

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Images via Shutterstock
So if you’re contemplating a career change or perhaps getting ready to create your own job, or maybe you’re currently on Plan B, C, or D, still searching for meaningful work... know that you’re not the only one. It’s okay to take some time to figure it out. It’s so important to be open to where your mind, your heart, and your gut can take you. Need a little third party advice? If you’ve already bounced your ideas off family and friends and are still feeling indecisive, consider seeking professional guidance. University campuses are great starting points if you’re searching for a counsellor or life coach to consult with.

Rest assured that there are lots of us out there doing the Plan B thing. Once you can change your frame of perspective and acknowledge that Plan B can actually be a positive step in the right direction, not just the next best option, you’re on the road to embracing this period in your life for self-discovery, adventure, and exploration.

What plan are you currently on?

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17 comments:

  1. This can become even more true when you hit 30 and the career, marriage, babies, house, etc. you thought you'd have haven't happened yet. Once you make the realization that things don't have to go according to plan to be good - it's all OK again :)
    Great post!

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    1. Yes, that's exactly it! Changing the way we frame the issue in our minds is the first obstacle. Then like you said, acknowledging that deviating from "the plan" isn't the be all and end all, that's the realization that matters the most. We can still be happy (and oftentimes even happier than we'd imagined) despite things not working out as we'd originally hoped. Thanks for sharing Aimee!

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  2. Great post. I think most plan As don't work. Mine didn't. Not sure what plan I'm currently on. Might be F and no that does not mean that I failed. :-)

    Mo

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    1. LOL! I love your sense of humour. Speaking of multiple plans, I think I might soon be heading on to my Plan C ... who knows I might just join you at Plan F one of these days with the rate I'm going haha

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    2. Yeah. I think the idea is to never give up. There are 26 letters in the alphabet. If after Z, you're still not happy then that's when the double letter (AA, BB..) plans begin. :-)

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  3. Wow! This is such a great post. Especially since it has been something I've been thinking about. I am very glad you followed you heart which is something I'm trying to learn to do. My plan A was to graduate college attend med school (12 years) and become a Neurovirologist. Something I have and my parents have been preparing me for literally since I was five. I've done everything to meet this goal I'm enrolled in college and high school at the same time and study more than anything and have come to realize that this really won't make me happy. Yeah, it would be more stable than going into fashion but I love fashion and would wake up every morning and want to go to work which being a scientist probably wouldn't happen often. Sorry for the long rant, I just had to get that off my chest lol.

    Donald
    www.trescharmantxo.com

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    1. Don't apologize at all Donald, I'm happy to read what you have to share. I think you've already got a great head start because you're still in high school yet aren't allowing yourself to be pushed down a career path that you're not truly happy and passionate about. Plan A is a long, long timeline. Good for you for trusting your gut about what will make you genuinely happy in the present and the future!

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  4. Danielle, this was a great post. You highlighted some ideas here that I feel very passionately about, which is why I'm so drawn to career counseling as an area of specialization. I'll be seeing clients for the first time starting in late August and I am super anxious-excited! One of my internship sites will be at a college counseling center, where I'll likely come across many students with similar Plan A, B, C, etc. concerns (or lack thereof, which can also be a problem!).

    So glad that you followed your heart and that you are as happy as can be in your newlywed life. Not sappy at all, I read that part with a smile on my face. :)

    And thank you so much for the encouragement on my watermelon swimsuit post. That was actually my first bathing suit post since I've had my blog (one year)! It can definitely be difficult revealing so much of ourselves online, so I really appreciated your kind words.

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    1. I'm so glad this post resonated with you! It was something I had in the works for weeks, adding to my draft little by little, and like you said it can be so hard to reveal so much of ourselves online, so it's certainly reassuring and reaffirming to receive such a positive response.

      As for career counselling, what a rewarding career choice! I wish you the very best throughout your internship (I'd be a little nervous too! :S) You seem to be very well-spoken though so I'm sure you'll get into your rhythm quickly and be able to make a significant difference with your future clients. When I was a student, it would have been great to hear about exploring alternative options from several different sources, so it's wonderful to hear that you have the potential to make that kind of impact on the students that you work with. I'd love to read about how that all goes!

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment Nathyness and hope to talk chat again soon ;)

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  5. I think when we make plans when we're younger, we don't account for a lot of things... the unexpected stuff, yes, but even that there's pleasure in the "boring" things or things outside of our careers. We think that X, Y, Z will make us happy (a lot of components of that Plan A), but as we get to learn more about ourselves and life in general, our perspective shifts and so do our priorities (and thus our plans). And this is okay! Just because we aren't where we said we would be at 20 years old doesn't mean we're failures -- it means we're humans who are living our lives.

    It sounds like you are supremely happy -- and I'll take that kind of Plan B over having it all and looking great but feeling dead inside. I actually kind of went that route myself (ah, dramatic!) but left it behind to pursue what felt right for me. It's not easy choosing Plan B ever, but especially after you realize Plan A sometimes isn't all it's cracked up to be.

    Thanks for these words of encouragement! :)

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    1. Hi Erika. Wow thank you for your wonderful comment and you are most welcome for the encouragement. I love when you wrote "it means we're humans who are living our lives." Yes, that's exactly what I'm talking about! That's so great to hear that you're pursuing your passions as well. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading through your blog and find many of your posts about what you're looking for very inspiring (for example, location independence, I'm so with you on that one!)

      I wouldn't say I'm supremely happy lol... but yes certainly pleased with my life :) And we've just made some decisions lately that will really change things up again (I'll be talking about that on the blog next month). Cheers and thank you again for your thoughtful comment!

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  6. This is exactly my situation girl! Seriously! Wow.

    I always thought that I would be married to my work. I was SURE of it. In fact, when friends would tell me they wanted to get married I would shudder, thinking that would be an absolute nightmare. But now here I am... 22, married, and my husband is the breadwinner. Exactly where I thought I NEVER wanted to be. But I'm finding I LOVE it! And I get so much satisfaction out of my relationship and my life. I too am currently searching for a job that allows me to be flexible. While at first I thought the career world was for me, I'm finding myself less and less drawn to that lifestyle.

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    1. Yes I totally know what you mean!! I'll be in a similar money position to you as well once my husband's back in the military next year. I think that it'll finally be nice to have the pressure off for a bit, knowing that he'll still bring in money and I can take the time to figure out the next step. Looks like you have a great attitude about recognizing that where you are now, unlikely as it might have seemed, makes you feel happy and satisfied. Best of luck with your search for meaningful opportunities! And in the meantime, it sounds like you and Carl are having a blast hanging out while he's on leave :D

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  7. I've just gone through several of your posts and I feel like you and I are going through a lot of the same things. So happy I found your blog!

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    1. Very happy we found each other too :)I really enjoy reading about your experiences with military life & wives and having someone to relate to!

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