The Hunt: A Job for the 20-Something Year Old

Saturday, December 6, 2014

I recently stumbled upon this Huffington Post article entitled "The One Question to Ask When Starting or Changing Careers," written by Shakti Sutriasa.  The article instantly appealed to me because it succinctly states how I've felt since graduating college in May.

On the other, I felt compelled to be useful, to do something "needed." Art is needed but in my 20-year-old mind, it felt like a secondary need and I was being drawn to fill a primary one, like protecting the environment, working for Oxfam or at a homeless shelter.
Like Sutriasa and many others, I feel called to be helpful to society.  Should I work for a non-profit like Oceana or UNICEF?  The most direct ways of helping are not the only means of doing so, but it is easier to overlook less obvious ways of being of service.  It took me some time to realize that there are different ways of truly being "useful."  Life isn't always as it at first seems, and upon entering the work force I was struck by how different the working world is from my formerly held idealistic world view.  Part of this revelation was beneficial.  I have found sixty-year olds who still wonder what they want to "do" in life.  I've met bosses who adore their jobs and others who have much higher aspirations.  Most importantly, I have learned that people expect and welcome job fluctuation.

 In high school, the future seemed permanent.  I struggled to choose one distinct career and buckled under the  pressure to stick to it.  But since college, I understand that nothing is permanent and this includes jobs.  Life changes, people change, and so do careers.  From my father's passing a few years ago, I fully recognize that the idea is to create balance between all aspects of life, so when one fails, you are left standing strong.  I will not have one job for the rest of my life.  I am happy about that because it allows for greater freedom.  My career is my choice - not a set path.
Because here's the truth: That question, "What do you want to do (for the rest of your life)?" is no longer applicable.

I am so thankful to my mother, for teaching me that a person is not a career and a career does not determine a person's worth.  When all is said and done, compassion and kindness triumph.   And importantly, one person does not only amount to her job, talent, or hobby.  Human beings are meant to be, and in simply being, we are of inherent value.

Sutriasa advises to focus on the next three years of life when choosing a career.  She poses the questions: 'what skills would be thrilling to acquire?' and 'what would be exciting to do for the next three years?'  This visualization technique is less daunting and more manageable than planning for the next fifty years.  Guidance like Sutriasa's is imperative for all age groups and should be explained to high school students and again during the early college years.  There are a lot of options out there and it's easy to become distracted without the correct guidance.  I've grown to realize that being too serious rarely ameliorates a situation.  So, don't bite off more than you can chew, and focus on the possibilities present in the next 3 years!  One's life is not comprised of one job or one industry...a life is a life and that alone is a gift.  Keeping all of this in perspective,  it is a privilege to have any options whatsoever regarding employment.
© Wild Hearted 2016.

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