I recently made a decision I've been pondering for sometime. I asked for a voluntary demotion at work. Not a decision I took lightly as no matter what spirit such a step is taken in, there has to be acknowledged a certain element of failure in finally deciding you've been trogging along on the wrong path for years.
The trouble was that I got sucked into the expectation that you work as hard as you can, progress as far as you can and earn as much money as you can. And while that might work for some people it really doesn't work for me. I never actually wanted a career. I wanted to be a housewife! I deliberately picked a degree with little future employment prospects and I used to dream about opening my own cake shop and learning how to make pretty patterns with icing.
And for someone who still insists on buying all their clothes in charity shops, why would I ever need a lot of money anyway?
But as I started to progress in the working world I felt the pressure of applying for the next rung on the ladder, increasing my salary and my status and taking on additional responsibilities. They didn't sit well on my shoulders, I've never been a natural leader, I'm what's known in the business as a soft touch. I don't motivate or push people because I'm more concerned with them as people than I am with the profit and results they generate. So although I enjoy my job when I'm helping and supporting customers I was never cut out to be the boss and direct others. I'm a lot freer now that pressure is lifted.
One of the problems with being....ahem....clever is that people expect you to be a success. But I struggle to translate the skills and type of intelligence I have into succeeding in a work environment. Many of my highly successful colleagues would be the first to admit that they couldn't write a novel or answer spiritual questions from all corners of the globe and equally I have to admit that I find it hard to juggle all the plates a manager has to keep spinning. Especially as approximately seventy percent of my mind is usually wandering off in the clouds and thinking about something completely different........
While I'm not specifically criticising the company I work for as I've worked for several and the ethos is the same everywhere, there's this expectation that you bring a certain amount of passion to your role. And I just can't dredge up the required passion for profits and figures. I have passion for my witchcraft, my friends, my family, my bed partners, certainly my pets. But I can't get excited about watching the pounds stack up. It just doesn't push my buttons.
I've known for a long time that being a witch and a bank manager aren't compatiable. I wore myself out a bit trying to pretend they were. But in the end, one really mattered to me and one really didn't. So although I'm aware I've lost a bit of kudos in the "real world" I've gained a great deal of self respect for doing the right thing, even though it has taken me ten years to do it!
And those who matter have supported me all the way. I spoke to several close friends before making any decision and received the pretty much unanimous advice to throw in the towel and focus on what is important to me. Several commented that they found it hard to understand why I'd ever gone down the career path in the first place and one particularly astute friend asked why I was capable of blazing my own trail in every other aspect of my life but felt I had to conform by having socially acceptable career aspirations.
In some ways I feel I'm marching out into the unknown. And its made the path I've chosen to take in life all very real. Up until now I've always had that safety net, that I could slip back into a conventional framework and forget that I ever wanted more. But it wasn't enough. I couldn't bear to devote all of my life to work and television. And I'm not prepared to swap spiritual awareness for a sports car and a pandora bracelet. The truth is that I want more from my life and I'm finally far enough along my path to understand the changes I need to make to get it.
Image http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=787902 (Ayla87)
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