The Lightness of Responsibility

From the beginning of the pandemic situation till now I constantly face the questions and situations that are connected with responsibility. It seems that there are simple ways to act, if you want to avoid the virus, that is keep distance, avoid meetings, don’t travel, but people are always checking with “authorities” –  can they do this or that? as if with the answer they will get immunity to the illness. I get irritated – and I understand that this irritation is about me – not wanting to take this responsibility that someone tries to pass on to me. And on the other side, I see anxiety and frustration caused by not giving this answer. I believe that it’s pretty much the same when we make career decisions. Many years ago, I was reading a book by Milan Kundera “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, I don’t remember the content now only that it was a good book. But the naming of it is still on my mind and I keep thinking that it could be rephrased also to The Unbearable Lightness of Responsibility. While working with career consultations, I realized that many tensions rise from giving away the responsibility about your career choices. If I’m not happy with my career situation, I can sometimes blame the organization i work for. It does not give me opportunities to develop, I could say. Sometimes the manager might be the guilty one as the person who does not see me or any others, who stops me from changing . Then I see how people are stressed and disappointed, blaming others. At the same time they are without control in their situation. For me these are the hardest moments of career consultations: those that evoke irritation, frustration, impatience and anger. I believe that the way to go is to constantly raise awareness about the situation: how is it that you stay in a place where you feel not valued? Here you have a choice – to risk changing something; that is leave the organization, change the unit you work in, etc. or to stay where you are, without any change, or to stay and reinvent the place where you are. I remember moments in career consultations, when a person decides to take a risk after a long time doubting. Or choosing to be in the same place and implement an idea they have. Or just staying and accepting that it’s their own choice. Witnessing this, I could say that it really looks like “lightness of responsibility”. So unbearable while you don’t take it and so light when it happens. When I was talking to my husband about this post, he said that it seems quite right, but with this idea I just say, that take your responsibility and you will be happy. Not all choices are lucky ones. Many of us have witnessed career stories, when taking a risk people have lost a lot. Of course, it might end in many ways: you might really experience new horizons, learn new things, meet new people, do another work, earn more money. But you can also lose: you might end up in wrong company, with the work that you imagined differently. So, every time you start to feel helpless about your career, stop for a while to realize, how this happens, stay with this uncomfortable feeling and when you are aware enough of the situation, make your choice – either to change, to reinvent, or to stay. In any case, no one is to blame – it‘s your choice. I believe, that this feels better then giving the responsibility for your career to others. 

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