On ditching career for work instead

What I'm about to say may contradict solid career advice you've likely received before, so read closely, ok?

I want you to think about ditching a career to do your work instead.

When I left a Wall Street job to travel and "just be", I gained wouldn't-want-to-miss-it experience and perspective. This break took me off a career in finance and into the wild west of vocation--a place where work became a journey not a destination and my work story was mine to define entirely.

I admit, I fretted if I'd matter anymore. I wondered how I'd talk my way into the next job. But I think we've been holding the definition of career too narrowly.

Intersectionality of ideas across fields is the way of the future.

While a career typically requires dedication to one realm (say, finance or teaching) with a known path of progression, following the work means consciously creating your own narrative down the wandering but purposeful path towards your version of work success. 

In career terms, my occupation has been to seek and be an authentic expression of myself as I gain capacity to lead in areas that matter to me.

And that 'career' doesn't come with titles or consistent raises. By the career metric, traditionalists would have a hard time assessing my progress; but, building a career to external objectives is just that--momentum towards someone else’s version of success. And I’m really all for being on my path and for you to be on yours, because that is how I think we will make a dent in this crazy world of ours.

Being in your own truest expression is the greatest way to serve in your circles of influence.

Being for the work, and not the career, is what has allowed me to choose each next right move, or job, without feeling compromised. How does this work fit with the direction I want to go in my life? How does it align with where I say I want to be spending my time or utilizing my skills?

When you you see work as your daily opportunity to be in your own truth, it actually feels different--you know where you are and why what you’re doing matters to you. And clarity like that is really powerful.

This is why I say do your work instead. Because when you choose your work, you choose a life expression that is truly, uncompromisingly yours. You don't give yourself away; you amplify who you are.

Mara Grbenick