Did you know that on average, women hold 12.1 jobs during their lifetime? According to Pew Research Center, 47.7% of the global workforce is made up of women, however, only 49% of women are happy in their current jobs (I believe this is an optimistic number).
By Kim Normand Dobrin
To me, this statistic is shocking. It means that every day, millions of women get up knowing they will spend their day miserable, or at the very least, unfulfilled.
I do hold out hope that with an average of 12.1 jobs in a lifetime, each woman will have the opportunity to grow and move into a position that truly makes them happy. I believe that happiness and joy are of the utmost importance in everything we do in life. According to scientists, higher levels of serotonin, the “happiness chemical” in our brains, increase feelings of well-being, confidence, and belonging.
As humans, we have been conditioned that happiness comes from achievements and success that fit into social norms and standards. Joy is an internal process that we have control over.
No matter what is happening in our outside world, we can choose to be in a state of joy.
I remember my very first job. It was in an office. Not only was I miserable, but so was everyone around me. The highlight of my day was making coffee in the little kitchen and eventually walking out the doors to head home. I did not last long in this position.
- There is a greater plan than yours.
- Your inner strength is greater than you’ll ever imagine.
- Life takes tenacity, commitment, discipline, and involvement.
- Use your inner wisdom … You have earned it!
- Trust your gut – ALWAYS!
- Fill your life with meaning.
- Accept that we are ALL works in progress.
- Self-discovery is your power! The more you know YOU, the more you will create and BE.
- You must go within in order to live without
I left that job because I realized that for me to be happy, I needed to find something that resonated with my heart, and was aligned with my belief system.
Truthfully, my dream was not to have a career at all. Coming from a childhood fraught with trauma, all I wanted was to be the best wife and mother I could be.
As the saying goes – “Man Plans and God laughs.” I went with God’s plan.
Mine came after seeing Schindler’s List.
I walked out sobbing and decided then and there– if I wanted my children to be raised in a better world, I needed to get involved. Every choice I have made since has been based on this commitment.
With this new line of thinking, my world was changed. Through all the challenges and wins, I have been committed to my own self-growth. I realized early on that I am only limited by my capacity. And as I began to grow as a person, these intentional choices led me on a new career path.
The greatest challenge for me was to bring all the pieces of myself into one congruent being. I wanted my work to reflect who I am, for it to be more important than just something I did.
I have been blessed that my work has led me to assist thousands of women in improving their lives through education, self-discovery, and the power of love. Witnessing these women change and grow into more positive versions of themselves never gets old. When I first meet these women, there is almost always one common denominator, they are scattered and pulled apart in too many directions. Their roles as a sister, child, parent, friend, employee, and more cover them in a blanket of confusion and anxiety. With each role, they desperately try to be 100% of everything to everyone at all times. However, In doing this, they lose who they are under all the pressure.
Slowly, as I developed an award-winning international career, I realized my work was no longer just something I did. What I do for a living is who I am, it is my very breath and being. I had achieved continuity.
On my way here I often faced anxiety and apprehension starting new projects, yet something deep inside of me would not allow me to turn back and stop.
So, I learned to trust that if I jumped off the cliff, my wings would appear. And they always have.
The skills and tools I’ve developed have held me together as I journeyed through my life. I have learned how impossible it is to give 100% to every aspect of your life all at once. I believe that when you are fully involved in life, it will move in ebbs and flows allowing you time for everything important to you- when the time is right.
And YES as women we all multitask, and we normally do it well. However, when you multitask TOO MUCH and give away TOO MUCH of who you are, you will deplete. So choose cautiously and prioritize. Think of it as juggling 7 balls … 4 are plastic and 3 are glass. Which balls are glass can change over time, but make sure you don’t drop what is most fragile.
I am now in my 6th career endeavor. I know that I won’t get to the 12.1 because I made choices years ago that led me to be happy with the work I do. I grew within the 6 roles that I have been blessed to venture through and I have blossomed.
We all have our own journeys based on our needs, values, and choices. Don’t copy or compare yourself to others, it’s a recipe for failure.
Compare yourself to YOU. Be the best YOU can be. Sometimes this will take baby steps, and sometimes big leaps, just keep moving forward.
Kim Normand Dobrin is an award-winning global leader and Ashoka fellow committed to creating a positive impact on children’s lives. She has a 30-year, internationally awarded career in Human Rights, Education, Empowerment & breaking the cycle of poverty.