Starting vs settling

settlingAfter reading How to customise your life and not settle by Katie Robinson at Ask the Young Professional, a blog I’ve only recently discovered and look forward to following, I just had to share my own thoughts.

Katie makes such an important point, and one that I’d never considered before – understanding the difference between starting and settling. It’s really helped me to to think differently, and hopefully more clearly, about the idea of ‘settling’.

In past posts I’ve talked about striving and searching, rather than just settling for an ‘it pays the bills’ kind of job – but how do you define settling? And what’s the difference between starting out, doing what you have to do in order to reach your goals, and giving up on your dreams?

You have to start somewhere, whether you have very specific or only very vague goals in mind, but you still want to find a starter job that you enjoy (at least some of the time) and that’s on the right path towards your career goals.

The way I see it, you want to have links between your starter job and your future career ideas – a basic framework based on your current interests and skills that you can build on.

For me, these links are science, writing, communication and education. My job doesn’t cover any of these things in depth, but the fact that there are bits of all of them means I’ve got something to move forward from. These links also don’t cover all of my interests, but they’re a start. If I compare this to my previous part time work waitressing, which had just one very vague link to my goals – working with people, then I’m in a far better position to move forward now than I was then.

Settling is continuing in a job that you neither enjoy nor is moving you forward. Settling is not thinking about future career goals and convincing yourself that the job you have is good enough when you know it isn’t. Settling is giving up.

Starting is accepting that you have to pick something for now and give it a go. Starting is finding and creating links to your future career ideas and planning ahead. Starting is being realistic, but thinking forward.

So I’m not settling for a nine-to-five desk job that doesn’t include half the things I want in a job, I’m starting with a nine-to-five desk job that’s going to get me to future jobs that do include more of the things I want in a job.

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6 comments on “Starting vs settling

  1. This is great! I love your closing line :) I’m so glad you liked my post and it inspired you to write it. I’ve gotten a lot of great lessons and insight from reading The Defining Decade. I keep shoving it down people’s throats to read it… with the most kind intention ;P

  2. I think this is an excellent way to look at things. Career counselors often talk about “job crafting,” which is the process of moving from the job you have toward the job you want, all within the same position/company. That process emphasizes the “starting” aspect of any job – there may be room to add more elements that bring you closer to your ideal, and if not, then it’s time to move on to a new job entirely because you’re probably settling.

    • ‘Job crafting’ is an interesting idea – I’ve heard of the concept before but not that term. I can see how it could work really well for a while, but there must always come a point where you can’t ‘craft’ your job anymore due to the work environment or company. Though like you say, at that point you know you’ve moved from starting to settling and it’s time to move on!

  3. […] Indecisive had a good post recently on the difference between starting and settling. I’m not holding out for my ultimate dream job here – I’m willing to start somewhere. But […]

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