Career Development

The moral imperative to own your own career

By: Dale Simpson


In this reality we inhabit, we are constantly inundated with depictions of prosperity, accomplishment, and ambition. From social media posts boasting about promotions and accolades to inspirational sayings exhorting us to exert ourselves further, it appears as though everyone is obligated to aspire for greatness. 

However, in this relentless pursuit of success, it is imperative that we question: who is determining our objectives? All too frequently, individuals strive for goals imposed upon them by external forces rather than crafting a career trajectory that genuinely reflects their principles and dreams.

Instead of committing ourselves to the storyline of an employer, a job market, or the expectations of others, and forgetting that we are the true authors of our career narrative, we must consider the moral imperative of owning our career paths and being true to ourselves by crafting a career path that is authentically aligned with our values and aspirations. It is this precise realisation that underpins my fervent belief in the essentiality of owning one's professional journey.

As we weave through the tapestry of our work lives, the fabric of our experiences is one that we should be designing, an extension of our own hands and will. The concept is deceptively simple: we own our labour, therefore our career. Yet, it is the nature of our engagement—with tasks, with colleagues, with mentorship—that moulds this ownership into something tangible and rewarding.


Crafting Your Path

My choice of the word "craft" is deliberate. It invokes an image of careful artisanship, of dedication to one’s discipline. This suggests a symbiosis between who we are and what we do—a deeper relationship that transcends the transactional nature of employment to reach the heart of vocation. 

Crafting a career is not synonymous with the relentless pursuit of self-improvement or the often toxic hustle culture. It is an expression of the moral imperative to live our lives fully, both personally and professionally, and to acknowledge that our skills, passions, and contributions are not just means to an end but integral parts of a fulfilling life.

Engaging with Employers and Clients

Owning your career inherently means having proactive, oftentimes courageous, conversations with employers, clients, and collaborators about your strengths and how you can best serve them. It's about carving a niche where your expertise is not just acknowledged but celebrated and expanded upon.

These exchanges aren't just about advocating for our worth or advancing our positions; they're about creating a mutual understanding wherein the employer or client also benefits from your sense of ownership. It’s a win-win: they receive the best of your capabilities while you cultivate an environment that respects and develops your professional autonomy.

Adaptability and Engagement

Adaptability plays a pivotal role as industries and technologies evolve at a whirlwind pace. However, adaptability is not merely about keeping up—it’s about staying engaged. It's embracing the excitement of learning and the possibilities that come from exploring your craft more deeply.

When we take ownership of our career, we are better equipped to navigate change, to see it not as a threat but as an opportunity to grow. It's not about being a leaf blown about by the winds of economic fortunes; it's about being the tree that bends, sways, and ultimately grows stronger through the challenge.

A Call to Action

This article is not a call to the rat race; it is a rallying cry to recognise the power and responsibility we hold over our professional destinies. It is an encouragement to see your career as an integral part of who you are—as something that deserves the attention, care, and passion one would give to any significant aspect of life.

In the end, by owning our career, we defy the notion that we are mere players playing parts scripted by others. We claim our right to draft, direct, and star in the narrative of our professional lives. This is not just a means to earn a living, manufacture status and climb the proverbial ladder; it is an endorsement of the deep-seated human desire to be masters of our fate, which starts with valuing and owning the work of our hands and minds.

So step up. Own what you do. Embrace the profound joy and responsibility of crafting your career path. In that, you don’t just serve yourself—you become a beacon for an evolved work culture where everyone is the craftsman of their destiny, working not merely for a paycheck but for the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from labouring with purpose and belonging. It's not just about living better; it's about living authentically, professionally.

We each have a unique set of skills, passions, and perspectives that contribute to the rich tapestry of humanity. By owning our careers, we are not only fulfilling our personal desires for fulfillment and growth but also making a valuable contribution to our world. When we live fully in and through what we do, we inspire others to do the same, creating a positive ripple effect that can transform communities and industries. 

We are each threads in this tapestry, and it is our moral imperative to weave our authentic talents and visions into the world's evolving narrative. In doing so, we do more than live; we leave a legacy of authenticity, progress, and inspiration for future generations to build upon.


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