How to Belong When You Don’t Fit the Career Mold

Out of Place Series – Camille’s Story

I graduated high school as valedictorian of my class fifteen years ago (Wow! Time certainly does fly.), so one would think that by 32, I would have already answered the question: What do you want to do with your life? When I was younger, I was an excellent student by all accounts and a scholar athlete. Yet even though I was smart, athletic and popular (in a very small prep school albeit, which some might say doesn’t hold as much weight), I never felt like I fit in entirely. 

Going all the way back to elementary school, I always felt slightly out of place. Fortunately for my ego, I’ve always had friends, but I’ve also been a sort of outlier in each group. The introvert who despite being quite opinionated, prefers smaller group interactions and turns down nearly all invitations to go out. Can you come over instead? 

On choosing a career

As is normal with most people, feeling like an enigma was a much bigger deal for me as a child than it has been as I’ve grown older. That is, with the exception of one area of my life – my career.  After high school, I went on to attend the University of Miami and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.  For whatever reason, it is perfectly normal to send kids off to college at 17 and 18 and expect them to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. For me, however, college was when I became exposed to the vast world beyond my little prep school bubble and started to really discover subjects I truly enjoyed. And even though I felt like I was alone in this struggle to find my calling in life, I’ve realized with age that it’s much more common than we realize.  

At the same time that I was trying to find myself at 17, I was dating my high school sweetheart, who knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wanted to be a professional baseball player. He had his eyes set on that goal from a young age and he realized his dream – with a few hiccups and a lot of prayer along the way.  Today, we are married with two beautiful children and one on the way, and even after retiring from playing, he is still involved in professional baseball as a coach.  My point here is, he has always had a strong passion for baseball and always knew what he wanted for a career, while I hung out on the sidelines still unsure of which direction to take and feeling completely misunderstood. 

When it was time for me to decide what to study at UM, I looked to take the “easy” path. Having a sister who was very successful in real estate, and assuming I would follow in her footsteps, I chose to enroll in the university’s school of business and started studying entrepreneurship.  As expected, I did work alongside my sister as a realtor during my college years, but the process was very touch and go. My family really wanted me to focus on real estate because it had proved fruitful for my sister and so many people we knew, but I was never really in love with the career choice and grappled with it constantly. Then, around my junior year, I discovered an intense passion for health and fitness and eventually added “personal trainer” to my resume. 

Discovering other interests

Before turning twenty, I was exploring different career paths, as any young adult should do, but I was being criticized for it.  Every time I would speak of a new interesting subject or career path, my sister would tell me I was all over the place and my mom would follow suit. I wanted to explore different options while I was still young and instead of encouraging me to use this critical time in my youth to discover myself, I was condemned for thinking differently and not knowing what singular thing I wanted to focus my entire future on. I don’t mean to criticize my family for being tough on me, but I feel strongly that their lack of understanding towards my curiosity for life and a vast variety of subjects influenced and affected me significantly for years.  

how to belong when you don't fit the career mold

In recent years, I have learned that there is a word for what I am, and it is multi-passionate.  This is a phrase coined from Marie Forleo, who uses it often as a self-proclaimed multi-passionate entrepreneur herself.  Fact is, I wasn’t born with one overwhelming passion that would overtake everything else and be something I could live the rest of my life doing happily.  God created me with an irresistible curiosity for life. And guess what? I am actually okay with that! 

In fact, I have come to realize that being multi-passionate is far more common than society cares to admit and that most people simply settle into one career choice out of convenience or circumstance. Call me crazy, but I have just always had a really hard time settling into something I am not in love with. Yes, this has made being multi-passionate feel like a strain most of my life, but I have accepted that I am going to bounce around from thing to thing or job to job more often than most around me. 

We were not created with the expectation of belonging to this world. So when I struggle to feel like I don’t fit into a certain mold, I have had to remind myself that God loves me exactly how I am.  Society has set expectations for how kids should be raised, how we should learn, how we should develop and how we should contribute to society, but I have always had an issue with fitting into those molds. I am philosophical and I question life constantly so I tend to overthink things a lot.  Additionally, these molds were all created by man, not God, so who’s to say that they are the best and only way to live life? 

I may not function the way society expects me to, but my goal isn’t to fit into societal norms anymore. I am me. I am the way God created me. And I am proud of it. 

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!

Thanks! I can't wait to connect with you!

About Camille

Camille is a mom to two rambunctious boys with a third little bundle of joy – A GIRL – on the way. A baseball wife and serial entrepreneur, she married her high school sweetheart after college and started traveling the country while he played professional baseball. Camille has a Master of Arts in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Business Administration and currently works as a freelance writer.  You can connect with Camille on both of her websites here and here, on Facebook, and on Instagram.

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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