Just because you think you should doesn’t mean you should

Thursday, October 10, 2019 Permalink

I was at a writing workshop a couple of weeks ago and the facilitator shared a quote… I didn’t actually make a note of the reference but think it’s fairly well known.

It was a memoir and personal essay session and the quote went something like… Just because you think you’ve got a story to tell doesn’t mean you have to tell it.

I’ve mulled over this from a ‘writing about crap of interest to no one’ perspective for a long time, but also more broadly as it kinda relates to where I’m at ‘life-wise’. (At least in a professional sense.)

I’ve recently been doing a bit of writing work for some local companies which has kept the proverbial wolf from the door (given it’s now a year since I finished my full-time contract). Some of that has been with a company I worked with just after arriving here and I’ve been offered a short-term part-time contract with them.

It came as a huge relief as I’d been grappling with an almost-too-good-to-refuse offer to work in Brisbane for 3mths. (Opportunities are limited here.)

Interestingly, no sooner had I agreed to this contract work, that a full-time senior-ish position popped up locally. When I logged into my ‘Seek’ (jobseeker) account I was advised that I was potentially a ‘very good’ match with this position on offer. It pays very well. And it’d suit my skillset.

But… I know what it would involve. I know enough about the gig to know what the challenges would be. The personalities at play. The politics of it all.

For a moment though I wavered. I SHOULD apply, I thought. I’d be back to where I was in my pre-seachange life and where I briefly drifted here just over a year ago. The money would allow me to fix things around my house, replace the tyres on my car. Even have an overseas holiday.

because you think you should do something

And then I thought about the ‘why’. It was more about the fact that it seemed like something I SHOULD aspire to, rather than being something I actually wanted to do.

I keep claiming I grapple with the financial security vs freedom and creativity thing with the former winning out. Perhaps they’re not the only values at play.  Perhaps it’s just as much about me thinking I SHOULD take a certain job cos ‘others’ would be more impressed. Or because ‘getting it’ would make me feel better about myself.

There’s a hole rabbit hole I can go down about my self-worth being too tied up in career choices or how I think others perceive me. But I’ve leapt down there before and still don’t have the answers.

I had my first meeting with team members in the contract gig this week (I’ll be mostly working from home) and the boss made a comment about the fact I was probably still looking for something else. Something better.

“No,” I said. I wasn’t.

And I’m conscious of a strong sense of relief at being able to STOP looking for jobs. Worrying about what I SHOULD or SHOULDN’T apply for. What I’m prepared to settle for. About my finances.

Rather, I’m being given an opportunity to take up a contract with a group of people I know and like. And coincidentally another part-time gig may be on offer; and…. I might continue to get some writing work with someone else. It’s very bits and piece-y but will keep those wolves from the door AND (I think) give me the flexibility and freedom I crave.

So…. I’m actually thinking of unsubscribing from all of the job ad emails I receive and just ‘living’ my life, rather than desiring something ‘more’. It’s kinda freeing in many ways. Scary but exciting at the same time.

Do you do things because you think you SHOULD? 

Linking up with the Lovin’ Life gang. 

22 Comments
  • Jo
    October 10, 2019

    Yeah, but not as much as I used to. The should thing, that is. The other day Grant went and tossed all his work shirts – other than one in case of weddings, funerals and the like – and it was him symbolically saying he was retired. I reckon you unsubscribing will be you choosing to work with the people you want to work with on the things you want to work on regardless of the “shoulds” of your old work life. x

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2019

      I know… it feels really scary though… the idea of deleting those subscriptions cos the old ‘what if’ pops up in the back of my head. What if something AMAZING comes along etc…

      But perhaps it’s a bit like me deleting Instagram from my phone (and mostly my life), what I don’t know….

      I need to get better at appreciating what i have rather than what I don’t have!

  • Suzie
    October 10, 2019

    I did that once. Was gulled by a lady telling me I was perfect for the job and should apply. I applied and got the job, very unhappy there and left after three months. ‘Should’ is a very hard word to get around.

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2019

      I struggled a bit to say no to the Brisbane one. Of course I didn’t really have anywhere to stay for the three months and paying for accommodation would have put a dent in what I could have saved while there. The job itself sounded interesting but it became too stressful for me to think about the logistics so I opted out.

  • Lisa
    October 10, 2019

    It’s my one bit of advice to new parents (because new parents don’t really want a whole lot of advice), don’t do things a certain way because that’s the way you think you should be doing them (as per all the unwanted advice), do what your gut knows is best – that “should” word is top of my avoid list 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2019

      I’ve written before about my propensity to use SHOULD, MUST and OUGHT TO. And I try to change my thinking to ‘could’ or I ‘get to’ but here you’re right… I’m feeling a lot better once I realised I just didn’t want to apply for that other job. That, having the freedom to work at night instead of during the day or have breaks etc is such a treat and I couldn’t do that in a more traditional job.

  • leannelc
    October 10, 2019

    Deb we could be job twins!! “Freedom and flexibility” – were my top two core values I discovered when I did the test – and both drive every choie I’ve made since leaving the soul sucking job. Then there’s the whole un-subscribing from SEEK notifications thing and the idea that my sense of self worth doesn’t have to be tied up with how “productive” I am in a job, but rather who I am as a person. I could go on and on and on because this post is everything I’ve been writing about on and off over the last 6 months of trying to figure out what to do workwise. I’m SO glad you’ve found a similar path and that you’re being kind to yourself too – it’s such a relief to make that decision isn’t it? It feels a bit like my “I kissed job hunting goodbye” post from a couple of weeks ago. x
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2019

      It’s still scary to think about deleting those subscriptions but I’m determined to do it today. I’m tired of putting stuff ‘on hold’ cos I’m definitely not getting any younger. For a long time I expected things would change. (I’d meet someone, have kids etc and that didn’t happen and I think I’ve not really had a lot of direction since realising that wasn’t going to happen once I hit my early-mid 40s and have floundered a bit since then. Rather than say, “Okay I’ll focus on my career,” I stopped and realised I’d been working for 20+yrs and really wasn’t happy. It’s taken me a long time to change and I’m hoping this time I have the perseverance to see it through and don’t get pulled back into the $ / materialistic / supposedly more responsible way of thinking.

  • .. .. (@DenyseWhelan1)
    October 10, 2019

    Yes to deleting the emails. No to going back to what things were like for you in those gigs. Yay for you. Love this post. Denyse

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2019

      I recently re-read some of the stuff I wrote at the writing retreat and while there I’d decided I didn’t want to work full-time any more. Of course I came back and then started thinking I SHOULD work full time. Reading some of the words from just a year ago reminded me of WHY I wanted to make some changes.

  • Min Write of the Middle
    October 10, 2019

    I totally get what you’re saying here Deb. There’s a part of me that wants to earn good money and knows I have the skills to earn good money but a bigger part of me needs space nowadays … and as you say … freedom! I know that people will think more of me if I have a ‘proper’ and ‘respected’ kinda run of the mill corporate job, but I also know that I spent far too many decades of my life doing things to please others and totally ignored the needs of myself. These days I’m much older and I’m going through perimenopause/menopause and I need a slower pace. I’ve decided my health and wellbeing takes priority over doing what I think I should or what i think others think I should. Obviously my situation is different to yours but there’s a pretty strong common thread! I reckon stick with your variety of part-time local jobs and give yourself the very much needed pockets of freedom and opportunities for creativity! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Debbish
      October 10, 2019

      Yes, I realise I’ll need to shut out the voice that reminds me I could do less hours for more $ elsewhere but wouldn’t have the flexibility. I think (hope) that if I’m valued where I am now that will be enough.

  • Retirement Reflections
    October 10, 2019

    Hi, Deb – I completely get the dilemma of what you “think you should do” and what you “really should do.” Been there…and still, revisit there often. But I am getting better at this. My vote is that you live your life on your terms, and the rest will fall into place as it should. Of course, you already know this. 😀

    • Debbish
      October 11, 2019

      I guess I do know it, it’s living it or implementing it I struggle with. I guess practice makes perfect?

  • Johanna
    October 10, 2019

    Hi Deb, I loved the quotation which made you think about your work, life balance situation. I don’t think you ‘should’. I agree so much with what you’re saying, and you know and already understand the pressures and politics of the job that pays more from which you’d probably be fleeing in a year. It seems as if you’re personality now is happy with a bit of freedom and a bit of creativity to do a bit of this and a bit of that, so contract work sounds great for you – and as you say, there could be the possibility of more. Way to Go! Life is short. We are not getting younger. Do what makes you happy and keeps the wolf from the door but doesn’t include keeping up with any Jones’s! #MLSTL and Pinned

    • Debbish
      October 11, 2019

      True Jo. I spent most of my first 20+ years working in government and wondered how I would go back into it (when I did) a few years ago (after just a few years away). I’ve talked here before about not being good at knowing what I want but being at knowing what I DON’T want and think that’s still the case!

  • Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    October 13, 2019

    As long as you can keep the wolf from the door and a roof over your head, the only thing I think one “should” do is what makes them happy and/or follow their gut. Life is way too short spending it doing things or being places you don’t want to do/be.

    • Debbish
      October 13, 2019

      Too true Sammie…. but hard to remember sometimes! x

  • shelley
    October 13, 2019

    I firmly believe that all those shoulds cause a lot more frenzy in our lives than any of us needs.Between what we’ve absorbed about what we “should” do and what others think we should do….it’s a recipe for unhappiness. I’ve shared with the ladies in my private Facebook group since all of us would feel less stressed and frenzied if we quit worrying about all those things life tells us we should be doing.

    • Debbish
      October 13, 2019

      Oh yes, I know what you mean – a recipe for unhappiness, failure and guilt cos we can never achieve all of the SHOULDS!

  • Jess
    October 14, 2019

    I can totally relate… I hated my old career when I left it, but my Mum constantly asks when I will return to it and sometimes I see opportunities and think I should apply. But then remember how unhappy it made me.

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2019

      I’m the same. Worry I’m disappointing my mum who probably worries more about my finances now and I don’t think she’s ashamed but was probably more comfortable when I was in employment that paid better and sounded more impressive.

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