“What If I Simply Can't Have Everything I Want?”

Roxanne's job fits her comfortable, outgoing lifestyle perfectly, but there's a big piece missing: a deeper sense of meaning. What if she finds out she can't have both?

What's your career history and current job?

I worked in retail management for a long time after university, and then did my Masters in Communications and Media Studies.

During my postgraduate training, I got started as an intern in the PR world, and was instantly hooked. I'm now a Senior Account Manager for a major London PR firm.

How do you feel about your work?

There's so much I love about it.

I'm a bubbly, outgoing kind of girl, and I love talking to people and making them feel good! I'm really good at getting ideas across to people, and the creative, idea-generating kinds of things I get to do every day are loads of fun.

I love the perks of my job too (although it makes me feel guilty to admit it). I've got a comfortable wage that allows me to live and party in Central London; my first proper designer handbag was a gift from a celebrity client; I get to go to film premieres and club openings... if you saw me at work from the outside, you'd think I'd found the perfect career for me.

But I wonder how long I can keep this up and live with myself. It's pretty shallow, really. And don't get me wrong, I can be pretty shallow myself, but that doesn't mean I want to look back on my life and not see anything more meaningful.

I think I've got more to give than what I'm giving right now.

What would you like to do instead?

Well there's the million-dollar question...

Last year we put together a whole PR strategy for a charity fundraising drive. It was a charity for kids with terminal illnesses, and ever since I haven't been able to get those kids out of my head — or, actually, the feeling I went home with after the wrap-up party.

What's the biggest obstacle you're facing?

Myself, without a doubt.

I feel awful saying this, but I just can't bring myself to imagine giving up my lifestyle and my salary for a job doing charity work. I've got friends who do it and they all say it's low-paid, long hours, stressful... but that's as far as I can bring myself to look.

I know I should do more research into what's available in these sectors, and how I could bring my skills to it in a way that doesn't leave me strapped for cash and prematurely ageing(!). But I'm so scared of finding out that I can't have it all (a meaningful job and a comfortable, bubbly life), I've just gone like an ostrich with its head down a hole.

I'd rather be miserable and not know than find out I can't have what I want. And I know how silly that is.

I'm just paralysed!

Can you help Roxanne?

  • Have you been in a similar position, or are you in the same boat right now?
  • How can she find the courage to go after what she wants?
  • What else could she do to move her career change forward?

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