30s. Adulthood. Career Deadlines.
According to society, by the age of 30, you should have it all together. By 30, you should have a career and have reached certain milestones in that career.
Sociologists even created a list, “5 great milestones of adults”, which includes society’s established career deadline.
Specifically, by 30, you should be well into a career and successful. Right?
Well, my career journey has been different.
I am over 30 and unemployed. Though I prepared myself – acquiring education, skills, and experience – and planned to have an established career by now, things didn’t turn out that way. I experienced detours along the way – detours I consider no accident from my viewpoint now.
Here’s what happened: I completed my undergraduate programs and took on the role of a Senior (Elderly) Caregiver a few months following my graduation. I ended up serving in this role for 6 years – furthering my education during this time.
Upon the Senior’s death, I found myself amongst the ranks of the unemployed – and currently amongst the ranks of the long-term unemployed (here’s another detour). The process of re-entering the workforce after Caregiving has been harder than I expected.
Embracing the Unexpected
Yet, this post is not to rant on and on about my unemployment or detours in my career journey.
Why? Because, I learned to accept my life situation for what it is – my unique journey in this life.
Despite detours and delays, I learned to embrace my life’s journey and make the best of it. What has been the best result? Growth and Development.
You see we grow up with our social expectations of how life should be but realize how life truly is with the passage of time. We have this sense of urgency in regards to our expectations without realizing that things may not happen when we expect them to (our timing vs. God’s timing) – or how we expect them to (our plans vs. God’s plans).
Consider this for a minute.
I chose a public service career path because I wanted to help people. I wanted to “make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.”
Here’s the thing, however: I expected to do this on a larger scale in my field but accomplished it on a smaller scale through my role as an Elderly Caregiver.
As a Caregiver, I made a difference in the life of an elderly senior. I managed the care and well-being of another person – unable to do this alone. Goal accomplished!
Side Tracking Moment : I didn’t realize this during my time as a Caregiver. In all of those 6 years, I DID NOT realize this. When I was slowed down by unemployment, I became aware of this.
I was so busy chasing this goal on a larger scale I didn’t see my accomplishment on a smaller scale. I focused on what I had not yet done instead of what I was doing.
Back on Track: Initially, career wise, I wondered, “Where did I go wrong?” I went wrong trying to live up to this social expectation – a career deadline – when society is not in control of my life.
Through my unemployment period, I learned it’s okay to be 30+ and not have reached the traditional career milestones established by others. Everyone has a different journey, so why should we follow the timelines of others?
If you haven’t reached a career milestone by 30, don’t stress yourself! You still have time.
One thing is for sure: throughout this career detour, I realized what really matters in life – and let me tell you – it has nothing to do with a career, a career milestone, or a job.
So, I say this: instead of bogging yourself down by the career time schedules (and comparing your career milestones to those of others), be grateful for everything you’ve been blessed to accomplish in life so far.
Choose to look forward with faith believing you’ll reach every career milestone planned for you – at the right time!
From Me to You: Be grateful for life and celebrate your accomplishments to date! You still have time for other accomplishments in your career. Keep going.
Did you accomplish your career expectations by 30? Please share below.