I’m watching this YouTube show, “An African City,” when I should be working. (What did people do to waste time at work before the Internet? Yes, I know it’s the weekend, but I work almost every weekend, so it was taking away from my productivity. Not good. (But I digress.)
A couple of days ago while surfing the web I read on NY Times.com about this show focusing on 5 women in Ghana who were educated outside the continent and have returned to Africa. They characterized the show as a “Sex in the City for African Viewers.”
I won’t get into the whole things of “for African viewers.” Why the NY Times thinks the show would only appeal to African viewers is neither here nor there to me. Just shows the NY Times doesn’t understand.
I’m on episode 3 of season one and so far I like it. And I’m not African. While watching the episode opening, one line of dialogue really jumped out at me. The main character, Nana Yaa says in a voice over that “the modern girl wants to have it all. She wants a job that she loves waking up to every day.” She goes on to talk about finances, friends, boyfriends, sex and love. But it really jumped out to me that she wants a great job that she loves first.
I find that refreshing. It makes me smile to know that women are placing importance on their happiness in career as a primary requirement for their lives. When I was a younger woman, a lot of my friends and colleagues wanted their love lives to be straight and if their job wasn’t perfect, oh well that was ok.
The next stage we entertained was the illusion that we could “have it all.” Reality hit for me in the doom of divorce. Many joined me down that route. After working for over 30 years I realize that I should have first been focused on finding a career I loved and that excited me as a primary life requirement.
My primary requirements for my career when I was Nana’s age were 1) money, 2) potential to make more money, 3) something I was good at so I wouldn’t have to work too hard. Then a few years after my college graduation the national economy went into a recession. After that I just wanted a job.
Additional education and training lead me to a career that was pretty enjoyable where I got to travel, meet lots of people and make pretty decent money. But after years of mergers and acquisitions, RIFs and reorgs, things grew to be less enjoyable at the job. Processes, policies and people began to create more unhappiness in the cubicles.
I think it’s wonderful that the new generation entering the workforce is looking for careers that speak to their hearts and not just their pockets. I think that will lead to them feeling more fulfilled and happy in their career than my generation feels when we look back. That’s why so many of us are switching gears and starting now to pursue the things we love, too.
How about you. Is it important that you love what you do on the job?