The world keeps telling us that we can be more successful, so we hop from one job to another to obtain a better position and a higher pay. Peers keep comparing milestones that they have reached in life, so we are provoked to buy an apartment or get married.
I feel that we are rushed to make one decision after another without thinking it clearly. It is time to slow down and reappraise what we really want. As an impatient and hot-headed person, I took nearly a year to slow down and strike an inner balance.
Due to a company structure change last October, I moved to another team and my work has become less and less busy since then. I had never experienced such situation in my previous jobs. In the first few weeks, I thought it was just a temporary situation and a normal rhythm will be resumed soon. However, the status lasted longer than I expected and I was anxious about it. Because it didn’t match the expectation of my career development.
Not being able to participate significant programs made me feel valueless; thinking that I wasn’t learning or growing made me frustrated, and it disheartened me that my attempts for internal transfers failed. In another word, the sense of achievement brought by work dropped to its lowest point. Realizing the situation won’t change in a short time, I started to ask myself few questions.
Why do I want to prove my value through work? Why can’t I accept where I am?
Are there other things left to do? Immediate answers to those questions surprised me. I wasn’t aware that I identify myself with my job this much. Then I realized that I need to step back and rethink what I really want to achieve from work.
Not only with work, it is also worth revaluating other things in our lives. It’s time to check what we have lost in this fast-moving society.
We have cellphones that can contact anybody anytime. However, the very idea of instant calls reduces the frequency of communication. Sometimes, I missed my mother’s handwritten letters which she wrote to me 15 years ago. The wait and longing encapsulated in the letter can never be found from a call.
When marriage is urged, we hurried to meet people in blind dates. We rarely have the patience to know the real disposition of the other person. Once the outward criteria are matched, marriage is agreed. It is more like a deal than an intimate relationship. I would say that the growing divorce rate in China is part of the result of this mindless haste.
The same with fortune. More and more people in my generation are talking about achieving financial independence as early as possible. People invest in different channels with the dream to retire in their early 40s, although they have no clue what to do afterwards.
After revaluating and screening out external noises, I discovered that my job is an appropriate fit in my current stage of life, which is not that promising, but it is good enough to keep my life and work balanced. Too be in a higher position and earn more money were solely dictated to by peers and society. I never enjoyed working overtime or spending energy in networking, which are considered necessary for a successful career.
Ultimately, it’s all about what we really want the most. If we examine ourselves and know our inner desire well, we will find that there are multiple ways to achieve the goal. We don’t need to rush anything as if it is a competition. In the end, we own our decisions and it is all about the best we get for ourselves, not the success in others’ eyes.
As a Chinese idiom goes: retreat in order to advance. Slowdown is not being passive. It’s a constructive strategy to recharge, rethink what’s really important, and to maximize the outcome of upcoming endeavors.
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html