I was talking to a coworker today about all of the recent Facebook/Instagram posts on the #10yearchallenge, and I’ve come to one conclusion: the only people who do it are the ones who haven’t visibly aged (and want the kudos for it). Am I bitter about not being one of those people? Not at all…
Regardless of the intention, I do think the idea of taking a long look back and seeing how far you’ve come can be rewarding. In a lot of posts, I see people talking about difficult situations they were in 10 years ago that seemed impossible to overcome (long-term partner cheating, complicated medical conditions, rock bottom self-esteem). Fast forward to today, those same people can now only remember snippets of those episodes because time has diluted most of the emotional charge associated with those bad times.
The same can be applied to one’s professional career. If I think back to 2008, I had only just graduated high school, and was about to start my bachelor’s degree in business. At that time, I had applied to a few schools across Canada and nearly accepted one prestigious school over 3000km’s away. Alas, my mother’s
guilt-tripping persuasive tears forced my hand to choose a local school instead. I remember being shocked at how much self-discipline you need in university, because no one actually makes you go to any classes! Needless to say, I missed a whole lot of 9am classes in first year. I aimlessly took bird courses to prop up my sliding grades, and ended up learning about cyclones and reading Huis Clos (I don’t remember a thing about either).
That was the point in my life where I was without much direction. I had never worked in a “real” job (unless you count a tax-evading clothing store in a local Asian mall that almost ended up in me pursuing legal action because they refused to pay me my wages). I remember making a bunch of friends who all would end up choosing Accounting as their major, making me fearfully cautious of my decision to choose Marketing (not a popular choice at my school).
If you ask me if I’m content with my career now, the answer is definitely YES. I recently put together a slide for a keynote presentation I delivered at my alma mater, and was in genuine awe at the number of products and campaigns I’ve launched over the years. I think about all the people I’ve met who are now in my network, my wonderful work family, my supportive boss, and the list goes on. Does this mean I’m content and will choose to settle here? Absolutely not. But it’s a great reminder that 10 years can drastically change your life if you want it to.