No one takes me seriously about wanting to be a politician
‘Another woman in politics? Well we all know how that goes nowadays’
“Big dreams – that’s cute”
I have heard this statement as a reaction to my future career plans countless times, usually said in a sarcastic tone, followed by a nonchalant eye roll.
It always puzzled me why this reaction was so common, as if having high aspirations was suddenly looked at as completely delusional, regardless of how many people are out there in positions of grand achievement.
When I was little music and acting were at the forefront of my career plans. Even then as a little girl I would hear, “Well every girl your age wants to be an actress too,” as if I had somehow asked for their critical opinion when telling them my dreams.
Moving into my university years, I put music and acting on the backburner, and found my love for politics, international relations, law and humanitarian work. Taking miscellaneous classes in my interest area, my passions were cultivated into a greater career plan.
Admiring women such as Elizabeth Warren and Amal Clooney, I set my sights on continuing to law school, focusing on human rights law, and then making my way into the political field.
It’s quite a mouthful, but after I began telling those around me my future plans, their reactions were not exactly what I had expected. Of course, my family and close friends who know me very well know that these aspirations are not out of the ordinary and are achievable for me.
But acquaintances began to react as though I was telling a joke. Somehow the notion of thinking outside the societal norms for a career was unheard of. You will get a degree, move on to an entry level job, and see where you go from there – Oh, and don’t forget marriage and children!
Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it shouldn’t be frowned upon to explore career options outside of the mainstream way of thinking.
These reactions just gave me another obstacle to overcome. It frustrated me that people were not taking me seriously. I even got the comment, “Another woman in politics? Well we all know how that goes nowadays.” Wink, wink.
Actually, I don’t know how “that” goes, and I was most definitely not going to let someone define how my future career would “apparently” go.
I was extremely angered with the whole situation. My ultimate goal was just to better the world and help make progress forward in any way I could, and suddenly these were negative goals?
There’s a common saying “Misery loves company,” but in my situation, I believe a twist of that saying, “Mediocrity loves company” is more appropriate. And that’s just it. Mediocrity has become the acceptable norm. People surround themselves with others similar to them, and when someone comes along and breaks that flow, it’s looked at as alien and threatening to their current comfort level. Don’t challenge the norms. Don’t bring something extraordinary to the table. When you’re different, you’re disruptive.
Personally, I disagree with these reactions. Instead of falling victim to petty jealousy and choosing to act negatively towards those around us, we should applaud their achievements and lift them up. Really, the whole concept that everyone is competition should be done away with entirely. There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition when it’s appropriate, but not to the extent that everything and everyone is after you to scratch your eyes out.
I no longer get upset when people respond to my career aspirations in this negative way, because I understand what triggers that reaction. I believe that we should rise with the achievements of those around us, while not losing sight of our own hopes and dreams. Everyone becomes a better person in the long run.