Back then, being ambitious means to put down 3 main career choice when you grow up. In standard 1 – 3, I think I listed down, being a teacher, a doctor or an accountant. Hehe… all that due to the much brainwash I had from my dad at home.
When I was a little older, in standard 4, I think I listed my ambition as stewardess, model or artist. Hehe. I realised I liked the glamour and attention and had an ambition to be a beauty queen.
As I grew too slow vertically and found that I can succeed in science, I decided that (then) being a stewardess would be a waste for me, modeling is definitely out of the question, and my artistic nature slowed down when books became my best friends. Still, I did achieve the ambition of being a beauty queen, albeit at a small pageant when I was 17 (ahah!). I cheated on my height as I was smart enough to know that a lack of 3” does not make that much of a difference when you audition in 3” stilettos ;P
Anyways, talking about ambition (or lack of it), I remembered how it was when the one told me that that was one of the ‘excuses’ given to him for his divorce.
I admit, he may look a little lost then, but I always believe that men progress in their careers faster than women, that is, if they work hard/smart enough.
It was one of our major arguments too when I asked a simple question which he misconstrued as being similar to his ex. I think that was our real first argument just a few months after knowing each other.
I for one, is known for being an ambitious dame. I had always known what I want to do in life (although they may change progressively as I grew older) and I’d always go for what I believe. Of course, having a career in art & design or music was not realised when my dad talked me out of it much earlier when in those days, our parents would never believe we could survive life with such a career. My last art piece was during my SPM and my music lessons stopped when I was 16.
But, I managed to see another strength that I have in managing events and writing when I decided that doing medicine is not something that I want to do for the rest of my life.
I started working immediately after my graduation as I was then already basically taking charge of my life, with a husband who conveniently forgets he’s married and a little baby under my care. Therefore, being ambitious is a pre-requisite that I expect out of myself in order for me to survive independently. I never declared I was married so that I would get a job easily and I managed my time around family life and career quite okay.
I climbed the corporate ladder really quick as they saw how well I worked and the results that I produced. I switched jobs every couple of years as I found that it was the only way for a quick career progression and a much better offer in terms of pay. As I was really young, juggling a career, a child and hectic social life was an easy task for me. I was really energetic and enjoying life.
I have always loved working and I love what I do. Working at odd hours to produce commendable results gives me such high, so much so that even after meeting the one, I was still putting my career first. After all, that was what brought me to where I was then. I never begged or receive 'charity' from the men I met, I was proud enough to pay for my own meals even in dates and I detest any connotations that perceive single mothers with pity or sympathy. I was doing very well, thank you very much and even did freelancing in copywriting and translation to supplement my income.
So, I guess, all the things that I went thru and the question that I posed to the one much earlier in our relationship sorta took him aback with a defensive stance. Still, I never would put him in a spot even if he’s not ambitious because at least I know I am, and that there are so many people out there who are not ambitious as well. It’s okay to just work all thru-out your life and not have to be accountable to so many other people, compared to if you’re in a managerial position.
I realise that being ambitious even in the most honest way could lead you to trouble. Being an executive or a clerk would expose you to very minute office politics. But in a managerial position, oh wow… it’s definitely a different ball game altogether.
Yes, it is admirable when you are able to be a manager at a much younger age. But not exposing yourself to more years of experience and being put at such a position would pose some critical dangers when you have such young blood, you don’t accept nonsense from people and you say what’s in your mind.
I have just realised a few months back that being honest about your actions and taking responsibilities of your results can be one big flaw in a corporate organisation. Everyone sucks balls. Everyone kisses asses. And everyone gives you that nice cheerful look although god knows the problems they talk about over at lunch or coffee breaks. And yes, they are ambitious people.
I always tell my friends who are being offered a higher position and afraid to take up such responsibilities, to accept the offer because there are so many other ambitious incompetent people who’d be all ready to take up that offer, screw up and point fingers at others, effortlessly.
Sometimes I ask myself if it is worth it being so ambitious. Yes, you get to a degree where no one could touch you but there’d always be someone who’d want your seat and would do anything to achieve it. It’s how you play your game in the office seem to be the best way to achieve your ambitions rather than prove yourself in the results that you produce. Some would just put plenty of pressure on their subordinates while you kiss those very important asses to achieve your goals, usually at the expense of someone else.
Rather than put so much focus on achieving matters that may not be appreciated by an outsider, is it wrong to be ambitious elsewhere, for example: at home? To have a good quality of life and make those who truly love you a happier environment… how does that sound?
The ambition need not come from a high-level position in a corporate organisation, depending on what you find fulfils your self-satisfaction.
A very dear friend has shown me that ambitions can come in other ways. Not everyone can or is suited for a certain environment. If there is a chance, the focus can be put elsewhere, out of the box, where success can come to you, even if it does not seem as awesome. Climbing the corporate ladder and being tense all the time looking over your shoulders compared to achieving success from your own efforts, for your own satisfaction can be as much of a personal 'high'. What's best, it's all you.
What am I saying?
Well, probably, being ambitious is good. But that shouldn’t be the measuring tape to life's success. Someone who doesn’t work can still be seen successful in life. Take my mother-in-law, for example. She has 11 kids, all having a good career and able to take care of their parents. Those who are still studying, are doing equally well, not having to burden their parents with problems and money.
I would definitely encourage the one to work smart. Being ambitious is a bonus and I’d like for him to achieve a comfortable position before he reaches 35. But seriously, he’s doing okay right now, he knows what he’s doing and I know he’ll get there. But even if he doesn’t get there that soon, we are living comfortably, he has time for the family and I, and he knows his priorities.
Being ambitious comes with sacrifices and I’ve learnt that it may not all be worth it. Taking things easy is better. I may say this as I reach a more mature stage but also having a dyslexic 11 year-old child, I can only advise him to take one things at a time and see things in a different light.
Having an ambition is good but being ambitious puts too much pressure.
We can succeed with what we do in different environment/circumstances, not necessarily in big organizations no matter how people perceive being successful should be like. In the end, it’s what you feel in your heart and what you find satisfaction should feel like, with a clear conscience and the ability to sleep well at night.
So, yeah. That’s what I feel.