Welcome back to Part 3 of The Comical Colon’s 5-Year Chronic Illness Anniversary Series!
This is a blog series where I share the five most significant life lessons that ulcerative colitis has taught me.
Click here to read the previous posts in this series:
Lesson 3: Life is too short to do things you don’t want to do—especially in your career
I don’t think I’m the only one here who tends to think about mortality more often than I like to admit.
Am I right?
My chronic illness often has me realizing how short life is.
I think of my scheming liver. I imagine that its bile ducts are its long, gnarled fingers tapping together like an evil villain.
I think of my guts (who are thankfully in a quiet remission, but who knows what kind of rude things they’re saying behind my back!?)
I try to estimate when my naughty organs will ban together with my arthritic joints and pull me from this remission.
So, simultaneously, my chronic illness often has me thinking about how life is too short to do things we don’t want to do. Especially when it comes to our career.
Life as a Receptionist
You see, I’ve worked two different full-time jobs since graduating with a business degree in 2016.
At the first one, I was a receptionist for a recruiting agency. I was in charge of running the front desk in a cold room, running expense reports, and tracking our clients on spreadsheets.
It wasn’t exactly what I’d call fun.
My second job was working at a senior care company as an office coordinator and then, after eleven months, I transitioned to the HR department to be a recruiter. Though I enjoyed this job more than the first, my soul still didn’t feel at home.
There was something inside of me craving to work more closely to the health and nutrition field, or with fellow chronic illness patients.
Changing Career Paths
But in my receptionist office jobs, I felt trapped. I had a business degree, not a degree in nutrition or kinesiology or health sciences. It would be impossible to meet the requirements to be a dietitian or physical therapist or any other position in the health field—other than a receptionist.
And I was ready to put those phonecall-riddled days behind me.
So I quit. I put in my two weeks, and then left my job at the senior care company. I was SO excited because, instead of finding another job, I had decided to go back to school full-time to get a degree in dietetics!
Leaving My Comfort Zone
Was it scary? Heck yeah!
It was financially risky because my husband and I would be living off solely his income while I dumped money to go back to school.
But I took this plunge because I was tired of feeling like I was missing out on something. I was tired of being in a position that didn’t fulfill me. I saw my coworkers following their dreams by working there, and I wanted that for myself.
But I knew my dreams were laced with knowledge about metabolism, enzymes, and intestinal villi...not how to escort someone out of the building after failing their drug screening or how to properly fire someone without making them cry.
Quitting that job was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Because I felt a calling to change careers, and I followed that call…
Because I finally decided to put my happiness first…
Because I stopped trying to follow my coworkers’ dreams.
In An Alternate Universe…
Maybe reception and recruiting would have fulfilled me if I didn’t have a chronic illness. But my illness was urging me to get closer to others on their own health journeys, and to help them.
I wasn’t exactly sure how. Maybe through becoming a dietitian. Maybe through working with patients at hospitals. Or by becoming a wellness coordinator consultant for companies.
I just knew I couldn’t help others like me (others with chronic illness) where I was currently working.
My chronic illness taught me that life is too short to do things that don’t fuel you. Especially when it comes to your career.
So much of your life is spent at work! And I decided I wanted my job to fulfill me, rather than just pouring into others but leaving myself run-down and empty.
So take a risk.
Go back to school.
Reduce your hours to part-time so you can start a side hustle or slowly transition into a career that fulfills you.
You deserve to be happy. And don’t ever settle for less than what you deserve.
I’d love to continue this conversation with you in the comments!
- If you love your job, tell me about it! I like learning about what makes others happy! Have you always know this is what you wanted to do, or did you take a risk to get here?
- If you don’t feel fulfilled in your current role, have you ever thought about switching jobs, changing careers, going back to school, etc? What is stopping you from making a change?
- If you currently don’t work (from chronic illness or otherwise) what things in life bring you happiness? What to you do to try to pursue these things as often as you can?
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