Recently, I crossed paths with a Steve Jobs quote (on the left) stressing the importance of loving your job. Typically, a quote of the sort would provide me with a burst of inspiration or motivation. Yet, at this point of my life, rather than igniting a fire, the quote aroused much frustration and confusion. In today’s society, it has become more difficult to decipher what “loving” your job actually entails. Due to the wide range of values placed on love, one must prioritize their absolutes during their job search. Some people desire the perks of monetary value, benefits, or rewards. Others place value on the people, culture, or competition. While others simply yearn for more intrinsic attributes-feeling important, having a purpose, or feeling as if they’re making a difference. As a recent college graduate, I can’t help but feel outrageously envious when I watch someone’s passions align perfectly with their talents enabling them to truly “love” their job.
Prior to graduation, many people became very inquisitive about my decision to complete my degree early. Whenever the questions surfaced, I tended to keep my answers short and concise. My tentativeness did not reside in spite of the question but rather resided in an unwillingness to provide an in depth explanation. Partly, because some hesitancy still dwelled within but mostly due to the difficulty in finding an appropriate articulation of reasoning. The term expired conveyed my current state most accurately, yet, the term expired typically cultivates a negative connotation. As soon as the word left my mouth, people immediately associated my decision with a poor college experience. When in actuality, the past three and a half years have easily been the best three and a half years of my life. I’ve formed incredible friendships, discovered hidden passions, created unforgettable memories, strengthened my faith, and grew tremendously as a person. My college experience encompassed everything I could have dreamt of and more. Nonetheless, every college experience has an expiration date… Mine just so happened to come early.
Throughout my last two semesters of college, a nagging urge for something new and different continued to evolve within. I desired to break away from the same every day monotony and experience life with no constraints. I desired to discover the world with a new lens, meet new people, immerse myself in a foreign culture, and undergo a change of scenery… I desired for a new chapter.
So here I am… Stuck in a sticky jobless predicament in a foreign exchange program obtaining an unnecessary minor with no clue what will happen when I return. When I originally decided to graduate early, I assumed I would settle into a job and start working my way up the corporate ladder. But the closer I inched towards graduation and the more job offers I received, I realized how terrified I was of commitment. But of course, in today’s society, timidity of the future is overshadowed with the confidence of success.
When we were younger, we were constantly asked the dreaded question “what do you want to be when you grow up.” As years progressed, our huge unrealistic aspirations typically evolved to more attainable suitable goals. Fast forward over a decade, I finally hold the classification of a “grown up”, yet, the struggle of what I want to be is more prevalent than ever. You see, due to the constant reminders of success displayed throughout various platforms of social media, it seems as if a large sum of my generation has it all together. But truthfully, whether we publicize it or not- we’re all a little lost. Yet, the majority embrace the “I’m-a-hot-commodity-right-out-of-college” label, accepting high paying salaries, selling their souls for hefty signing bonuses, and settling their way into the corporate world.
And then there’s people like me, a slim population of outliers confused and terrified of commitment. People who haven’t yet found a job that aligns with their passion. People with the same kid-like mentality of achieving unrealistic aspirations of making a difference in the world. We are a generation comprised of go getters and doers. We’re a group of kids who refuse to take no as an answer. We are open-minded and passionate. We are entitled and competitive. And I truly love our tenacity in everything that we do. But succumbing to a job solely based on salary, regardless on the innate yearning frightens me.
And yes, I am fully aware that I am a part of the millennial population despised by our hard working baby boomer parents. Their eyes immediately roll to the back of their head when we abandon a job to “search for perspective” or to“find ourselves.” But truthfully, it’s not that I’m putting off hard work; it’s actually quite the contrary. Wholeheartedly, I believe that every single human being should aspire to climb up the ladder of success and aim to be the best that they can be. Yet, so many people become disillusioned with the climbing and fail to realize they’re climbing up the wrong wall. I refuse to be that person. The person who climbs too high and feels obliged to maintain their current state instead of starting from the bottom. They’re engrossed in the monotony of success, motivation of money, and upholding of the status quo that they lose sight of their true selves. That’s when artificial, sacrificial, and superficial happiness comes in to play.
So here I stand. At the bottom of the ladder. Unsure which wall to climb up. Though it might take me longer than most to make the first initial step, once my passions and talents align- the sky will be the limit. For the first time in my life, I have no idea where I will be in this exact moment next year. Though the overwhelming sense of indefiniteness gives me a bit of stress and anxiety, I take comfort in knowing that I’m not settling. Everyone has different ideals of success and everyone has different ideals of happiness. God provided us with vastly unique talents, passions, and gifts to achieve a functional society. But in order for the world to reach prime optimization, we must collectively pursue a passion that is congruent with ourselves as a person in order to make a difference. And it is never too late to follow that path.