I Can’t – Or At Least Shouldn’t – Compete & Compare

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Sometimes, it’s just not smart to compete – especially when it comes to keeping up with the Joneses or other peoples’ successes. But man, it’s tempting!

I live in a neighborhood with a lot of new homes, and I’m pretty sure every single house is doing something to their house. It’s actually pretty funny because the houses that are the oldest (but still very new) are the ones doing bigger things, like getting pools. In the second group of homes, there are lots of new decks, patios, and flooring. In the newest area, people are getting their driveways widened, working on landscaping, etc.

It’s so easy to get caught up in that. But, it’s definitely not productive. I mean really, what is the goal (and again, why is it so tempting!)? I find myself with little tinges of jealousy when I see people getting the pools, or a Volvo or Range Rover, or see thousands of likes/comments/shares on posts, but that really just doesn’t make sense.

Aside from the pool, which I am convinced would make life more happy (hahaha!), what would a Range Rover add to my daily life compared to the 1-year old SUV I currently have? With covid still impacting things, there’s not even many places to go. Where would I drive that Volvo or Range Rover???

And as far as any grass is greener thinking about anyone else’s career successes, that just doesn’t make any sense either. Not that it stops me, but still. I often find myself thinking, ugh, I wish I could, or she’s done this or he’s done that. I then have to remind myself that I don’t know their story.

Even if we’re friends on FB or LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean I know the whole story and don’t know how they got to that point – I try to remember the analogy of success to an iceberg: success is just what you see, but there’s a much bigger part of the iceberg below the service. It’s silly to compare or compete with what others are doing.

I have to remember that I am only living MY life. Worrying that someone else has achieved more or faster than I have is truly senseless. I’m writing my own story. It’s definitely a story with a pool in the pages, but as for the rest of it, I’m learning as I go. This is the first time in close to a decade that I’ve had the ability to really think about what I *want* to be doing, and that’s pretty awesome. I am really proud of myself for working on Speaking Of, and treating it like a career – because I intend it to be.

I need to give myself the time to let it develop and grow. And with that, I need to be patient – which is admittedly one of the things I struggle with – and as long as I’m persistent and consistent, things will work out how they should for me.

My best friend loves the quote “What is for you shall not pass you.” That is perfect and so true!

Working Forward

Image by Igor Link from Pixabay 

I always wanted to work for reasons that most people want to work, and that reason is MONEY! I started working when I was fifteen years old as a bus person at Norwin Diner where I learned to quickly clear and clean tables and bus dishes back to the singing dishwasher.

The work environment was great since most of the employees were either my age or these cranky but funny, older waitresses, who had a smoker’s cough and deep voice. I fondly look back and remember one of these older waitresses selling ‘made-to-order’ erotic Christmas cookies for co-workers – more specifically, naked snowmen with more than your standard snowman parts. What a gem this lady was! I honestly think that she made more money doing this than being a waitress.

After a little over a year, I abruptly quit ‘the diner’ when someone got sick all over a table, and it was my job to clean it up. My boss said to me, you gonna clean that up? And I replied, nope, I am going home. I realized in that moment that I would never make it as nurse and chalked it up to some good life experience.

After my busing days were over, I worked in various other fast food chains before finishing my college studies and then returning to college as an adult to pursue my accounting degree. As I gained my experience in accounting at various companies, it helped me to ‘check-the-box’ in what I really wanted from my career path. Sure, I probably made some poor decisions in leaving some companies too soon, but I always felt that if I evolved from the work, or the learning ended, that I needed to move forward. I love learning and working hard.

However, it all changed when I became a mom, because I wanted to stay home!!! All the other mothers in my neighborhood stayed home, so I felt all eyes on me when I would pack my baby up in the car to drive him to daycare. I also got the mom-guilt at work, because I worked with all men; they would say, why aren’t you at home with your baby? It was a rough scene somedays. I did this for four years until I could finally step down from a full-time job and start looking for a part time accounting position.

I made it my mission to consider everything that I wanted out of my next job leap. I like to compare and think of my frequent career changes as that old tv show, Quantum Leap, always jumping into my next adventure. Pay, hours, flexibility, distance, and limited customer service – a lot of accounting jobs are a glorified secretary role, especially when you are the only girl in the office. I was not going to lower my standards.

Fast forward to my current job as a remote, part-time accountant, all my expectations are met and my employer and client value my input. Now the other side of this equation is that I no longer have daycare support and there have been cases where some ‘people’ think that I have all this extra time – so not true!

My job demands an intense schedule, so work is constant. I also find myself missing the comradery of other employees, so I often advise my son’s soccer ball, Wilson, for final decisions, haha. But at the end of the day, working remotely has drastically changed my life for the better. I get to continue my profession, and my mombligations (I just made that word up, mom + obligations). In addition, I know longer have to get rush myself to get to work, and I am available at a moment’s notice if my kids need me. My point is that you don’t have to settle for a job, there are satisfying careers, but it will require work.