When the right path is a switch away

I can really see myself changing jobs every 5 to 10 years - quote

Today we sit down with a millennial who changed her study path. We explore the mechanisms of this switch together. Enjoy 🏊‍♀️

Hello, and welcome! It’s so cool of you to come and share with us your orientation story 🐋 Can you tell me how you ended up working in social economy? From what you were telling me earlier I understand you weren’t predestined to work in this field at all.

Well, of course! Indeed, you could say that I have a bit of an atypical journey [laughs]. I left my studies in biology and went for project management. I am finishing my first year of my masters’ degree.

In fact, I had a sort of epiphany during a mission in a nature reserve in South Africa. Seeing how the environment was monetized disgusted me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just imagine 5 jeeps around a lion… there is no doubt nature is secondary in this case. That’s when I thought I had to get to the other side to be able to help shake things up. And that’s how I came to makesense. But don’t be fooled, I keep my biologist hat as I work on biomimicry!

Nice! I admit that sometimes I find it difficult to project myself into “what tomorrow will look like”. Do you think we can really get everyone onboard to change the way we do things?

Yes, basically everything is a question of speech, tone and finding people’s sweet spot. What I’m trying to say is: we have to find a way for people to personally relate to the situation, otherwise it doesn’t work.

Then on temporality … nature and history show us that to be effective, change must be radical. It’s more a leap than a transition. I think it’s the same with our current models of society. And don’t ask me about the direction we will go, it’d be impossible for me to predict such a thing 🤷‍♀️

Picture of women running towards the water

This is so interesting. I’m sure that if we stretch it a bit, we could even apply this conception of evolution to our careers. In fact, it’s kind of the image I have of clicks-quits. People have a revelation, which leads them to turn their professional lives around. Radical but effective. But I digress, let us go back to the core topic. How did you experience your own reorientation? How do you see your career now?

Well, every time we have to choose a path in life we tell ourselves it’s forever, but not at all! Ideally, I see myself changing jobs every 5-10 years. I’m not excluding out starting my own project on biomimicry, it’s such an exciting subject! But to be honest, I tend to follow the flow of my interests, so I’m not sure of anything. I recently realized that I don’t want to compromise. The worst you can do is make a compromise on money. Having money creates needs, I mean, you start craving things you wouldn’t have before. It’s a bit of a trap. In addition, I have the impression that there is this unhealthy connection between financial success and happiness which means that if you earn a lot you have no right to complain. A bit like when you breakup: the one initiating it is not allowed to feel bad. I know that making a choice can sometimes mean you’re losing something (or at something), but we have to tell ourselves that the decisions we take are always contextually the best choice we could’ve made.

This is why I blame the education system for its compartmentalization. We don’t have time to explore. If you look at the paths opened for us to choose, it is still very tubular! We are only offered closed options, It’s a shame. I would love a system where we could choose what suits us. I’m sure we all have the capacity to do so. Basically, we know what interests us [or would interest us]. It would make it possible to shape our course to our personality. And stop having to make those compromises I was talking about.

Regardless, we clearly have a transmission problem.

For the rest … I don’t know how to answer. My family and friends just said “ok” when I shared my desire to make the switch. But I can imagine it could be difficult to go for it depending on the (familial or economic) context you’re in.

Ha yes, the environment you find yourself in influences a lot your decision making process. Last question: where would you say your search for meaning came from?

It has been very much linked to constantly questioning my “reality”. It’s like Santa Claus in a way. It’s hard to question a concept you’ve built yourself on! And once that crumbles, your perception of things inevitably changes.

I took a step back, then another, and so on. Travelling and meeting inspiring people played a big part I think. In fact, when you go out of your way, you allow yourself to live.

And if you want a more biological comparison, I would say it’s like mitosis.

The what?

Mitosis. This is when cells divide! In this process as well you have a moment of rest. All living organisms are based on this model. Look at us: we need to sleep at night to regenerate. Hence the link with guidance.

Wow that is such a powerful comparison! I did not know this phenomenon at all. I can’t promise I’ll remember the exact term [Spoiler alert: I didn’t], but I’ll keep the concept in mind for sure. I am also convinced that introspection and self-exploration and pause are linked. In any case, it played a huge role for me. Thanks again for sharing your story!

April 2020

note: our millennial is currently back to university to finish up her masters degree.

And before we go, if you speak French and would like a deeper look in orientation, follow us on Substack 👇

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