Time is of the essence!

It is a familiar adage echoed by modern women juggling multiple tasks between relationships or marriage, family and career, or all of the above. It is an elusive priceless commodity of which we are all equally apportioned. Which is why I find it so disturbing—and more common than not—to meet a woman working in a career that is NOT of her deliberate intention. Armed with education and valuable skill sets, society continues to be short-changed in benefiting from what women have to offer. Justifying their career choice, women explain themselves like: “Well ya know, it was the only job that responded and I needed to work. Or, the divorce drove me into bankruptcy and I had to do something. Often I hear, my student loans had gone into default and one year turned into ten. Or, my husband’s job moved us to a new location and it was the only work I could find.” Time and again, women are settling into careers rather than pursuing the goal of their deepest desire.

While women have been traditionally socialized to believe that relationships or marriage is an essential component to our wholeness; nothing could be further from the truth. Our feeling of professional fulfillment takes precedence over the institutionalized constraints of marriage. I remember a time when my life was consumed in a relationship. Catering to the ambitions of my partner, my life was consumed in his world, his business and what he wanted. And being the resourceful, intelligent, make-it-happen, go-to person that I been created to be (as many women are), I become the driving force behind much of his success, yet I felt the most unhappiest and more unfulfilled than I had ever been.

The dream career would call me every single day—without fail! Okay, so I wanted to write. Something about a freshly sharpened pencil and blank stack of paper excited my spirit in a way that only a writer could appreciate. Yes, they were my personal diamonds demanding of me the time and space to create and burst bright. They were the magic wand in unleashing the stories, the novels and screenplays suffocating within me, yearning to come to life. Many a day I secretly wept; the endless hours absorbed in tasks of which I had no interest. I wanted to scream (and sometimes did) living as an imposter in my own life. I became angry counting the years that regrettably passed and though I protested against my all-consuming existence, my cries landed on deaf ears. No one could understand how I would even fathom giving up all the trappings of success to pursue a calling.

Well, I later learned that it’s not for anyone to understand—except you. Responding to one’s call only requires your understanding, your faith, and your participation. Approval is not required. Gone are the days of a “breadwinning” spouse, and since you are forced to work anyway, why not pursue that dream career. Begin today by making a decision not to waste another day because, well, tomorrow is not promised. But in the event that it does come, you want to be firmly positioned in the realm of purpose, free from the regret of self-betrayal. By nature women are nurturers, socialized to please those that we love and make sacrifices. We abide by such taught beliefs and lose ourselves in the process.

So I woke up one day refusing to go to work. Yep, just like that! No longer would I carry on in that capacity and began a plan of action. Several hours of each day were dedicated to my writing. Adjustments were made in my absence in the business and guess what? The world kept turning, and I, for the first, time felt no resistance and I was a component of that revolution. What a liberating feeling. Then I pursued a post-graduate degree after working hours and surrounded myself with like-minded women. The relationship with my significant other eventually came to its demise and it was the best thing that had ever happened. The personal fulfillment of any woman should in no way conflict or have to compete with her partners’ interest. Not a whole lot has changed in terms of men’s attitudes toward women and the pursuit of their careers. We find ourselves having to massage their fragile egos, marginalize our dreams and assure them that our endeavors will not upstage or overpower theirs. And even at that, the numbers aren’t indicating longevity in successful relationships.

Is the career of your dreams calling you? Listen to your gut instincts, get clear on your goals and assess your personal situation. It doesn’t matter where you are. Get still, read much and if for only 15 minutes a day, engage in some thought or activity that inspires your movement forward. Like hope, the dream career deferred only makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is the tree of life.

Jennifer Burton

Jennifer Burton is a writer, TV producer, filmmaker and founder of ALEXZUS Media. She is also the author of the Telham Park series, contemporary fiction for teens. Jennifer advocates empowerment for girls and women through education and supports efforts in bridging the disenfranchised divide.