C is for Careers

Why is it that society puts so much effort into focusing on finding the right career? I mean, we know that occupations come and go and that we are always free to change those jobs as many times as we choose, so why do we try and set something in stone that is practically as ephemeral as the tide?

From a (too) young age, the idea that I have to start choosing a career path for myself has plagued my mind. What if I choose incorrectly? Do I have to start my schooling again in the Health Sciences rather than English? Would I be better suited to the career of mathematician rather than that of an actor? How can a handful of school years prepare you for such a decision? Of course, the fact is reiterated that any decision that you make toward your imminent career path is not permanent and can be changed, but what happens to those three to four years (sometimes more) that you spend at University or College studying your heart out when you decide that your choices have been a mistake? Am I just freaking you out more? Oh gosh…sorry! But, seriously! Think about it!

But I think it is important to experiment in various career areas. Who says that you even have to decide on a career path? If you feel like a nomad, be a musician, a doctor, a biologist, a teacher, a mechanic, a barista, a barister, just do it! Though…….you could spend most of your life studying in order to actually be qualified for those occupations… But if you feel as though, that you need that change and you want to do all of these things, make those changes. There is no use being unhappy in a job that you would rather not be doing. Yes, ok, money. But you can still earn that money if you find a job that you love; that’s the beauty of jobs—your boss is obligated to give you the money (maybe not as much as you hope) that you need!

It is unfortunate that money is such an integral part of our society. It is interesting that having an occupation was once viewed as something unspeakable and degrading, and now having one is imperative for survival. Much changed, too, is the need to be qualified for the job for which you apply. You have to have a piece of paper, or experience in any field. But here’s the kicker…to get that experience, you need to have worked in that field before…but, wait, you can’t work in the field, because…hmmm….you can’t get the job. Why? Because you need experience…but why can’t you get the experience? …Well you get the idea. Painful. It’s, frankly, a torturous cycle.

And who is it that qualifies that any job is more menial that the other. It is obvious, when you observe people going about their daily lives, by how we treat say a business man in a suit compared to the lady that serves you in Target that society has these preconcieved ideas about which job is better. The truth is, that no job is actually better. Sure, one may pay more than the other, but that lady in Target may be insanely happy having that job. She may find it rewarding, and like it is the job for her. The man may be deeply unhappy and crave for a job that society deems more menial, but heaven forbid society sees him a lower job, how could he cope with the shame? There is no shame.

The point of a job may be for occupation, for money, for running the society that we as humans have built around us, but shouldn’t it also be about happiness—being able to do the thing that you love every day rather than walking through the doors in the morning, knuckles dragging on the floor, detest glimmering in your eyes? Which would you prefer? I know which I would.

What I am trying to say is that we shouldn’t let society define which career we choose, and when we should choose it. You are you. Let yourself decide when you are ready. The only person that needs to be happy with your decision is you—perhaps your biggest critic. But once you know that you are happy and are comfortable with your decision, who cares about the rest?


The Pressure.

Learn to walk; learn to talk; learn to hold a block; go to school; make friends; learn about language, mathematics, science, physical education, the arts; choose a career to aim for; graduate; get a job; work; get married; have kids; workworkworkwork; die—wow, what a life we’ve had.

She walks the halls of campus, taking in the old buildings, the focused students; the atmosphere of college. These are supposed to be the happiest days of your life—so carefree—yet how are you supposed to let everything go and have the fun that is expected of you. How do they deal with the pressure of choosing a career path for the rest of their lives? You must commit. You must study. You must know all there is to know about the circulatory system because, heaven forbid, you are going to need that to be a teacher! The pressure…

She sits at a picnic table, in a court yard, somewhere in the architectual jungle of academia and runs through her list of classes for the day. She knows nothing, yet after a few short weeks she is expected to be expert in the areas of each of her classes before being examined on content. After three to four years, she will be pushed out on to the street, no matter how ready, piece of paper in hand and off in search of a company willing to take her on.

“This field is very difficult to get into. You must work hard—be the best. This is the only way to secure a position,” words of positivity from a professor with tenure—a man earning annual salary indefinitely until retirement steps upon his doormat.

All hope and apparent delusion sprout wings and flee from her mind; there, reality sets up camp and, frankly, scares her to death. She begins to perspire; she bites her nails. The pressure…

She works and works; she tries to find those best days, but which comes first, the future or the now? Which has more priority?

The rest of her course becomes a blur of grades, information, discomfort, and multiple wars within a mind stuck in present and future, until she reaches graduation day. Each graduand is faced with finality. She surveys them all, looking for a fault in their beaming smiles. None seem to waver; none seem to feel the crushing pain in their chests as she does. There is no more hiding, no more study to do, no more best days. She must face the real world; the world she has been working toward, the career that she has been working toward, her whole life.

And as her name is called, she graciously takes her certificate—hands shaking, palms sweating—steps upon the wooden row boat and lets it take her down the unlit stream.


One thought on “C is for Careers

  1. Pingback: Regrets | An A-Z From Inside my Head

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