Running in the rat race but feel like you’re missing something?

Posted on August 18, 2020
By Catherine Heilemann

Get an education, get a job, go to work, go home – repeat… Does this sound familiar? There are many expectations that come with this. Up and out career progression. If you’re not going up, then you may find yourself out. So, you work hard to provide value and be valued and ‘bring home the bacon’.  It’s easy to be a part of this, to be part of the rat race. 

Is this also familiar? Something is missing for you at work. You’re working hard, doing well, maybe even being promoted. Yet, you can’t shake those thoughts and feelings at the edge of your mind that say “I want more. I want something different. I want to leave a legacy”.  

I began assessing this for myself in my mid-forties. I realised I had the big job, the dream career and even other people were envious of the level I had attained, yet I felt I disconnected from people. I didn’t know if what I was doing in the ivory tower was even useful.

I began re-connecting with people as I exited an organisation with a redundancy payout. At first, I thought I wanted to be back in the rat race again but over the span of a few months I began to think and feel differently about the career life I wanted to have. I began moving through the transition period and beginning to plan something quite different for myself. It brought optimistic hope and I really liked that. I asked myself some questions:  

1. What is my dream life and career? 

2. Does it represent something else (i.e. is it a metaphor for something very different?) 

3. When do you want it? 

4. How will you make it happen? 

5. Who can help you out? 

6. Can you have it all immediately, or are there some points along the way to achieving the outcome you are wanting? What are they?  

Changing tack with your career life doesn’t have to mean a new path entirely. It may be an off-shoot or related to what you’re doing today.  

Whatever you do along the way I recommend stopping to reflect on the things you are most proud of. Celebrate them and use them as part of your career identity for any times when you may question yourself. 

Running in the rat race but feel like you’re missing something?

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