My co-worker and I were talking today about what it must be like to have a job that you just love—a job that you couldn’t wait to wake up to each day, a job that made you look forward to Mondays when you could get back to it. Both of us really like our current jobs, feel lucky to be employed at our present company and really enjoy working with our co-workers and team members, but neither of us would say that we are fulfilling our life’s purpose. At least, I wouldn’t say that.
Admittedly, I haven’t met many people that are employed in either (1) the job of their dreams or (2) in the job that they absolutely love, whether it was what they always wanted to do or not. Most people that I know ended up in their job almost by accident or by default. They graduated from school, went looking for a job, found one (that they probably thought would be temporary until they figured out what they wanted “to do with their live”), developed skills in that industry, and then stuck to jobs in that industry. My mom never planned on being a social worker, but when she was looking for a job, a friend helped her get one in the county department of social services, probably she thought until she could find something else, but ended up retiring from the State after 25+ years in the social work business.
When I was little, I wanted to be a famous actress and singer. I knew that I would be loved and adored. I even remember riding in the car with my mom and my sister one night, home from school, wondering how my mom felt about “just being a normal person” and not being a celebrity. At the time, I couldn’t understand how she bore the weight of disappointment that her anonymity must bring (seriously).
Now, of course, I realize the naivety of that dream. Mainly, I was naive to think that I could be a famous actress and singer when I don’t have any talent, especially in the vocal department. But, in all fairness, Barbie never worked for a major home improvement retailer when I dressed her up and made up stories about her, either. There was no Barbie cubicle, complete with overstuffed in-box, whiteboard and coffee ring stains. There were, however, Barbie stages, Barbie microphones, and lots of Barbie gowns. The dreams of the young as molded by Mattel….
I think asking young adults to decide what they want to do with their lives at the age of 19 or 20 is ridiculous. How do they know what they want to do with the next 30 or more years when most young adults haven’t even had to do their own laundry? And we want them to pick a career? I think that you shouldn’t have to pick your career until you are around 40. By then, you’ve (more than likely) grown out of the party non-stop phase, so getting to work at 8 am no longer seems like an impossible feat. You have learned about yourself during your 30s, coming to understand your skills, likes, dislikes, etc. Around the age of 40 is when you can wisely make a decision about what to do. Until this point, everything should all be considered “paying research” to help get to that decision.
If I could choose my career now, I would be one of 4 things:
- A soap opera actress (emote a lot and hold a puzzled/mad look for 3 seconds until the camera pans away)
- A counselor (though Matt swears that I would get fired the first time that someone didn’t take my advice and I told them how stupid they were being, i.e. “I told you what to do, and if you’re not going to listen, then I’m wasting my time.” I think he’s being a tad harsh.)
- A song lyricist, writing Christian rock songs
- A book reviewer (though, being an “instant gratification” kinda girl, I always read the last couple of pages first, so I never have any surprise)
Apparently, I have a little creative streak that I would like to get out. Luckily, I do have outlets, albeit non-paying ones. No one sings louder with Third Day in their car then I do. I seem to be a pretty good listener because I often have people drop by my cube for advice or just to talk. I am constantly critiquing emails. There are some days when I act up a storm, i.e. “I believe that is a really great, original idea” or “It’s no one’s fault.” Gotta sell it when you tell it.
I guess that somehow I have ended up expressing myself, in the smallest ways, doing things that I love. God is good that way. But if a television studio ever opens in Statesville, looking for soap opera actresses, I’m all over it.