Follow your heart for true career freedom
My parents didn’t go to high school or university. Luckily, they had no idea what a ‘good résumé’ should look like.
They didn’t stop me when I took a 6-month study break to work in India. Neither did they tell me to get a study-related job instead of selling gym memberships on Frankfurt’s sidewalks. As long as I paid for it, they supported my decision to pick an exchange semester location based on a climate graph.
But then, in 2015, everything changed.
A university friend said one of those sentences you can’t unlearn. You’ve likely heard it many times, in some variation, from your parents, study friends, or colleagues. It always goes something like this:
How will that look on your CV?
As a 23-year naïve girl, I used this question as a new compass. I studied like a freak, aced my exams, landed a prestigious internship in Shanghai, followed by a fancy FinTech job in Frankfurt. At the end of my master’s studies, I had built the perfect résumé and found myself interviewing for a consultant job at McKinsey.
But then, sitting in the Berlin Office, solving case studies, cognitive dissonance kicked in. Something didn’t feel right. Only later I realized the tension came from the inconsistency between my actions and beliefs.
So, I broke up with my résumé.
I followed my gut, didn’t take the prestigious job, and instead went for what my heart was telling me. Here’s what happens when you stop building your life for your CV.
1. People Will Try To Stop You
Many people never dare to break up with their CV. They’re afraid of mind-made struggles like not finding a job anymore, earning less money, ending up on the street, and so on.
When these worried people see a person break out of their mind-made prison, they start to rebel. They’ll start projecting their fears upon you and will try everything to stop you.
Stopping you can take many forms. You’ll hear countless counterarguments on why you shouldn’t deviate from the norm. You’ll be asked ridiculous questions. You’ll see many shaking heads once you take ownership of your life.
My parents tried to stop me from becoming a full-time writer. Even after I made a full-time income with writing, they continued to send me job offers. While I felt devastated at first, a friend made me realize their reaction wasn’t linked to my actions. Instead, my parents acted upon their internalized need for security and stability.
2. You Start to Question Yourself
Unless you’re a stone, these people don’t leave you indifferent. You’ll start to feel insecure and wonder whether your decision is the right thing to do.
I had a ton of self-doubt in the year following my CV break-up. I was even considering reapplying for that consultant job. But somehow, I outlasted my inner-critic.
Eventually, my parents stopped sending me alternative job offers. After a while, they even accepted my decision. Once they saw how confident I continued on my path, they lost interest in trying to stop me.
You might embark on a similar path and overcome your inner critic. Once you’ve tasted freedom, you can’t help but continue on your new way.
3. You Lose Some Friends
So you go on. And some people in your inner circle won’t be able to handle it. Your level of self-ownership will bust their excuses on the way they live their life.
To them, you’re dangerous.
Your actions demonstrate everybody has the power to create the life of their dreams. These friends can no longer tell themselves life will fall apart if they stop perfecting their resume. They can indeed quit their job before two years in or work half-time because there’s a creative career they want to pursue.
4. You Win New Friends
Once the people who can’t accept your decisions are gone, your emotional space frees up. You no longer hold on to people who want you to stay as you were. You’re available for new connections.
You’ll attract like-minded people. Your new tribe ultimately helps you overcome any remaining self-doubts.
You no longer feel insecure as you see more people made the decision you just took long before you. In sharing your experiences, you rise by lifting each other.
Your new friends will feel like an energy booster. Plus, they’ll lead you towards your unknown unknowns — destinations, mindsets, and lifestyles you never knew existed.
5. You Will Unlock Streams of Energy
What felt like a burden before suddenly becomes a joy. You’re looking forward to getting up. You love Mondays.
Once you dare to do your heartwork, work doesn’t feel hard anymore.
You might feel energy shoots that overwhelm you. There will be so many ideas new ideas flowing in. You don’t know where to start. But you don’t need to hurry. This new strain of energy is unlimited.
Will life be easy?
No. And yes.
You’ll still encounter hardships. You’ll have problems that initially feel unsolvable. There will still be tasks that bore you.
Plus, living in extreme self-ownership can also feel exhausting. You can’t blame anyone but yourself.
And yet, knowing that you made your life choices will add layers of freedom and energy to your life.
You’ll continue to reinvent yourself again and again.
Once you start living your life, you’ll never want to go back.
Stop making your decisions through the lens of your CV.
At the end of the day, you won’t need to justify your life for any recruitment or your parents. Instead, the only one who’ll judge your life is you.
So, what‘s the next choice you make?
The Mini Post-Grad Survival Guide
A 5-day email course with tips on budgeting, investing, and productivity for 20-somethings. Sign up for free.