If you are reading this you probably have struggles with your career choices. Me, too.
When I was a boy I used to admire my father’s list of jobs: ice plant worker, insurance debit, railroad steward, post office, etc. As I got older I realized that there were other men who had found professions, stayed in them, done well, and found that elusive thing we call “success.” Bravo for them!
My Montana friend, Wayne, knew when he went to college he was going to become an accountant. He did so, and has now spent decades in that profession. I, on the other hand . . . well, let’s just say I had something definite in mind but . . . it kept changing. And changing.
There are lots of ways to “skin the” proverbial “cat,” they say. But when it comes to occupation, career, life’s work, etc., many of us tend to get stuck in a very narrow way of looking at . . . success.
I don’t for a minute want to downplay the importance of financial stability, wise and strategic monetary decisions, the acquisition of helpful insurance (health, life, etc.), and planning for the future. But there are other considerations that need to be made, too.
Back when I was teaching high school (in the 1980s) I asked one of my favorite students what motivated her to try so hard and do such excellent work in school. I guess I expected an answer that included lofty ideals that exhibited amazing maturity and exemplary foresight. What she said was: “Well, I want to make good grades so I can get a scholarship to a really great university, so I can get a degree that makes it possible for me to live in the kind of house I want, and drive a really nice car.”
Well all right then.
And if that is what one really wants out of life, if that is indeed their definition of “success” then by all means that is the answer that will define his/her career. [BTW, that student became a school teacher, so somewhere along the line she forfeited her stated ideals for some that brought her more personal satisfaction].
Human beings are gifted beings; they possess talents and penchants and missions in their lives. Daily food and clothing are certainly necessary, but what truly rings an individual’s bell (so to speak), what makes his/her heart soar – that is what he/she really lives to do.
So, the first questions I would ask as you and I try to unravel our career/job enigma:
- What thing(s) truly make you come alive?
- If you can picture yourself doing something that brings you great joy, what are you doing in the picture?
- If you believed you could find a way to make an honest living without doing a job you hate, how would that make you feel?