In The Woman

Finding the right career

I was watching a show last night called New Girl.  I’m a big fan of this show, because it’s pretty hilarious.  However, I was bothered by one particular part of this episode where Jess (the main character, a teacher) is talking to her boss (the principal) about a student who bugs her (okay, she kind of hates her.)  What was the principal’s response?  “NOW you’re a teacher!  A kid-hater!  Welcome to the club!”  — Something to that effect.

Sorry, what?  To be considered a real teacher, you have to hate kids at some point.  I actually see this in other jobs as well.  You aren’t a “real” employee (you’re just a suck-up to the boss) if you love your job.  I get that the show is a comedy and they write these things for the laughs, but this is an incredibly depressing thought.

Why aren’t people passionate about what they do?  Why do people even go into careers they won’t enjoy?  Sure, everyone has their bad days, but if you find yourself hating more aspects of your job than you love, there’s a problem.

Some people choose careers based on demand.  They don’t really want to be a doctor, and they don’t exactly have a brain for science, but they go to medical school because there’s an insane need for more doctors, and it certainly pays well.  There are some pretty big flaws in this idea.

1) The job market is constantly changing and what is in demand when you enter university may not still be in demand when you graduate, or ten years after your graduate.

2) A job that is financially rewarding is not always emotionally or physically fulfilling, and when did money outweigh sanity and joy?

3) There is no job that is suited to everyone.  Each person has an individual set of skills, passions, and abilities.  Choose a career that highlights your assets and downplays your vices.

Even if you choose to pursue a career in your twenties (fresh out of university, all-knowing, and ready to conquer the world!), that doesn’t mean you have to stick with that career until retirement.  It is never too late to re-invent yourself, and this is the myth people tell themselves to justify their fear of change.

My mother did a Bachelor of Music and was a piano teacher for twenty years.  In her forties, she quit piano teaching and started pursuing another, vastly different, career path.  She is now finishing a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice, and she runs her own mediation and consulting business.  Could that BE any different than piano teaching?  (She says in Chandler Bing’s voice) Probably not.  Is it equally, if not more, fulfilling for her?  Absolutely.  And it showcases a totally different set of skills and abilities that she possesses.  Luckily, she never bought into the idea that “what you do in your twenties will define your whole life”.  She is a role model to me in this regard.

As human beings, with the capacity to do so much, we should never have to settle for anything that we have the ability to change.  Don’t get stuck in a job that makes you want to call in sick every day.

Love yourself, and make a point to love what you do.  In the long run, you will benefit more than anyone else from that.

– Liz

Finding the right career

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