I take a small issue with this image (aside from the close quotation that’s facing the wrong way. Gah!).
While I do understand the general premise of what it’s saying, I also feel that we all have other people to thank for our successes. We don’t exist in a vacuum, others help us along the way, be they parents, partners, bosses, mentors, friends, etc. I also read the part of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In where she says women are often more likely to give some credit for their success to those that supported them in their careers whereas men are more likely to attribute their successes to hard work and ambition.
So I can see both sides, I suppose. However, in the last let’s say three months of my life, I’ve come to realise how much other people can affect your success (or lack thereof).
As some will know, I quit a stable but uninspiring full time job back in November in order to free up my time to finish my writing degree and possibly find a job in that field – or just something else part time until I finish my studies. My partner owns a bar so I’ve been able to work part time there, always with the intention of finding a second part time job to mix things up a bit.
Since early January, I’ve applied for a decent amount of jobs with no success. Turns out I’d prepared myself for the time it might take to find a job (I think I was realistic in this respect) but not the toll it would take – on my self esteem, my sense of self worth, my need for independence. I don’t think I realised how much it meant to me to be independent until recently.
Before my partner and me decided it would be OK for me to quit my full time job, I mocked up a budget that showed how much I’d need to pay for my half of the bills and we made sure my work at his bar would cover that. But we’d always anticipated that he would cover things like the groceries and our social activities (which are many). In theory, all was fine and dandy but, in real life, it seems that I like paying for these things myself. I am fiercely independent and my self esteem is intricately bound up in my ability to support myself. It has been a long, hard road to come to terms with my newly dependent situation, with seeing ‘us’ as a team, a real team that rely on each other for more than just companionship and couch cuddles.
Bless his soul, my partner has rarely made me feel bad about this arrangement. And I only say ‘rarely’ because anytime I’ve felt this way has been because of my own insecurity and defensiveness, rather than him trying to make me feel like a non-contributing member of our household. He has always said I should spend time trying to find the right job, rather than just taking the first thing that comes along. That he will support me to find what I really want to do.
So, to me, if I ever succeed in doing whatever it is I want to do (and I really don’t know quite what that is yet), then that success will be bound up in all the support I received from my partner. Without him, this would be a very different story indeed. And, yes, while maybe I will have done the hard yards slogging out the degree and the hard work to get there, without him by my side I might not have made it or it might have taken a lot longer.
Wow. Serious post today. Will have to remedy that tomorrow.