If you’re stuck in a career rut, be patient with yourself!
A few years ago I was harassed really badly by someone in my professional life that made me incredibly upset every day. This person was cruel and relentless. This person was me.
I’ve always been very happy for and proud of my family and friends when they achieve something great in their career. Especially in radio – mates of mine that I’d known since radio school, by 2010/2011 were landing some really impressive jobs at capital city radio stations. While I was thrilled for them, I was also crumbling internally because that too was my ultimate dream.
A dream that, as I entered the industry several years earlier, I’d excitedly declared I was going to achieve myself. I’d shout it from the rooftops. I was optimistic. Ambitious. In my head, this was going to be me in a few years.
By 2010, I’d relocated to Western Australia (the land of amazing sunsets and beautiful beaches) to work with a great bunch of people. Even though it wasn’t in my original life plan, I was lucky enough to become quite close with this amazing team, and developed some great friendships that I still have today.
I was doing the Breakfast show and had a boss who encouraged me to get my work done so I could leave by midday every day. It was my final few years before I had kids, we lived in a 2-storey townhouse just 5 minutes’ walk from the beach, and we’d have some great fun entertaining on weekends.
While I loved it there, it wasn’t my ultimate career goal. But instead of occasionally slowing down to appreciate the good stuff, I was deeply upset that no capital city radio station wanted me.
With every job rejection, my internal self-talk became more and more harsh. “What’s wrong with me?” “Why did I boldly declare a goal all those years ago that I’m not good enough to achieve?” I’d get on air, make a mistake and then I’d be thinking something along the lines of “THAT’s why no one wants me! Because I do and say crap like that!”
I’m pretty certain that my then wife had heard enough of it from me. I’d cry myself to sleep at night. “All my friends have made it, why can’t I?” I’d decided that I should maybe quit radio, move back to Victoria, and change career paths. In my mind, I thought I’d be doing the radio industry a big favour by getting out.
If only I’d stopped and asked myself “What the hell does it REALLY mean to ‘have made it’ anyway?”
In 2012 as my 10-year school reunion approached, I was very ashamed of myself and embarrassed. There was nothing wrong with the job I held, but there was something wrong with me… Because I’d told everyone that I’d one day be in “Y” job, while I was still working in “X” job. I hadn’t achieved what I thought I should have.
That reunion was in October 2012. Little did I know that, within weeks, I’d land one of my 2 ultimate career goals (in Melbourne) and we would suddenly be pregnant with our first child! Then, fast forward just 12 months, and my other big career goal would also be achieved as I stepped into a management position! Just like that! I’ve taken away so many life lessons since then…
Sometimes, the timing in your life isn’t exactly the way you’d like it to be. Sure, have your goals and ambitions, but don’t stress yourself out if they don’t happen immediately. You can catch the bus with everyone else… or you can walk and enjoy the really pretty scenery you’ll pass along the way.
The career path you walk is YOUR path. It doesn’t have to match anyone else’s.
Whatever you do, just be patient and kind to yourself!
Aaron Chilcott has close to 15 years in the commercial industry. After working at stations in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria, Aaron is currently program manager and workday announcer at Hit FM Gippsland.