The year was 2013 when I received an offer letter from one the most prestigious law firms in the country to serve my articles of clerkship with them commencing January 2015. I was very excited and grateful, but equally felt content because I knew that I had worked very hard to distinguish myself throughout the entire selection process.
I began serving my articles and everything was going great. I was achieving so much both inside and outside the firm and I can confidently say that everyone knew who “Phemelo” was. However, about halfway into my first year something began to change in me; like I was undergoing a massive psychological transition and began to question if practice was really where I belonged. Fast-forward to October 2016, retention decisions had to be made by the firm.
I felt calm about the whole process but was still overcome by this overwhelming question mark concerning whether this was for me or not. The day came and I was told that due to economic reasons I cannot be kept on as a commercial Associate.
I was disappointed and hated the fact that I would need to start job hunting immediately to ensure that I had a job come 1 February 2017, which was not going to be easy considering the fact that the job market has been increasingly tough throughout the world. This development led me to asking myself two fundamental questions: a) who am I and b) what do I truly want out of my life and career? People have always told me that they always see me in business; actually, I had about two directors at the firm telling me that I ought to be doing far great things than being in practice.
I finally came to terms with myself and accepted the fact that business and leadership is where I truly belonged and that it’s the area where my purpose truly lay. After multiple rejections from my job-seeking adventure, a recruiter I did not know sent me a message on LinkedIn telling me that one of her clients (one of the best corporate finance and private equity firms) was looking for a candidate who had just completed articles to groom from the ground up. Of course, I expressed my interest and within 5 days I was signing my employment contract with that organization.
When you have a strong identity and are in constant pursuit of your most authentic life, then purpose will always find a way of making you get there. However, it comes with the knowledge of knowing that you have to let go. Sometimes you need to let go of what you thought to be the perfect plan in order for you to enter the next level of your dreams. We tend to hang on far too long to things that are serving us very little purpose and bring no fulfilment. Let go of the clutch, you cannot access your next level with anything that represents the old.