Do you love your job? Are you passionate about it? Do you look forward to Monday mornings? Do you know without a doubt that this is the job you were meant for??
Are we supposed to know these things?
Ever since graduating college I have been completely unsure of a career that I want to have for the rest of my life. After voicing this concern I have found that most people, young and old, are right there with me.
My dad, a 51-year-old mechanical company foreman, started off working at a shoe shop, ended up going back to school in his 40s and still tells me he isn’t sure that he is in the career he will retire in. I actually hear this from lots of mid-lifers and I’m not sure it makes me feel any better. I have this dream of discovering something I love and living happily ever after, damn it!
Many adults don’t feel passionate about their job but whoever said we were supposed to? Remember only 20 years ago when people worked to support their families? When having a job was just to make money? Both of my parents probably would have worked at the shoe shop the rest of their lives had it not closed. And I can guarantee you neither one of them were avid shoe makers. They worked in a factory and could put food on our kitchen table that was first and foremost on their list of requirements for a job.
That doesn’t seem like much of a concern these days, especially for recent college grads. I can say that because I’m one of them. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to be. Career websites and books tell us 20-somethings that we should go into a career we are passionate about, something that will excite us. As we discover what that is, however, many of us enter jobs that simply pay the bills. Once we find a job and are comfortable there we forget about our dreams or don’t have time for them and resort to complaining about how much we hate our pay-the-bills-job.
Two nights ago I was talking to a friend who works at a desk job five days a week but is able to get any vacation time she wants. She doesn’t love her job but the benefits (she had the funds to purchase a house at the age of 24) far outweigh the headaches. So while she complains about it monthly she often oxy-morons those complaints with a “but I can go wherever I want whenever I want so I can’t complain.”
For all the people I’ve talked to who go to their jobs for the paycheck and the paycheck only, I’ve met an equal number who love what they do. Most of them have always known they wanted to be a veterinarian or a teacher and followed that passion into college. Unlike most of us, who dreamt of becoming a singer or a princess at a young age only to find out those jobs were too glamorous for us, these people discovered that their childhood selves chose wisely and became what they always wanted to become and, how about that, they love it!
I discovered early on that my acting goals were just a pipe dream and decided in first grade that I loved writing. I wrote for the high school newspaper, helped edit my friend’s essays, and finally decided to study journalism in college. It wasn’t until after my internship in 2006 that I realized I wouldn’t, in fact, enjoy writing about politics in an inverted pyramid format for years to come and never pursued a career in newspaper writing. I much prefer to write outside the pyramid so here I am, behind my blog, using what I am passionate about to discuss what I might be passionate enough about to follow a career in.
Right now writing doesn’t pay the bills, it doesn’t even pay the toll money it costs to go to Portland, but I suppose it’s a start.