I love meeting new people. In fact, I think doing so is one of the coolest things in life. But, there’s something that aggravates me about the process, one question that totally un-cools the whole thing: "What do you do for a living?"
I've always felt like the question puts you in one of two situations: You either have a job and are subsequently judged for how interesting it seems, or you’re currently unemployed and you get that look, or even that "oh" of embarrassment and are again, subsequently judged.
There are times in life where you’ll just have to face that awkward look on people’s faces; trust me, I have been in both situations.
For a while, one of my favorite pastimes was reading interviews about how people managed to build great lives from their true passions. I wanted to figure out how people could live by Confucius’ motto:
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
It’s not that I am a lazy person and I don’t want to get my ass out of bed in the morning; I just wanted to believe it's possible to wake up every day and be driven by an overwhelming feeling of excitement.
I don’t believe there’s one good way to find your dream job or that you need to have certain qualities to make it work. The job market keeps changing, and you can now create your own job along with its description.
There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but it’s hard to play by the rules when there aren’t any.
Some people are just lucky to know what they want to do with their lives early on; they don’t try to fight back the idea, they just embrace it. Basically, half the job is done and all they need is to work hard and fight any obstacles they face until they get there.
Unfortunately, I was never like that; I needed guidelines, a simple set of rules to help me through as life unfolds.
Find your passion, your true calling
Sometimes, choosing a career path makes me feel like I'm in a huge candy store; they all look mouth-watering and I want to try them all, although I know I shouldn’t.
The problem is, besides being chronically indecisive, I’m terrified to see time pass me by while I ponder every single decision I need to take on a daily basis.
Beef over fish? Jeans or skirt? Save money or vacation? The truth is Jobs was right when he said, "Our time is limited." Eventually, I guess we’re all good at something; we just need to choose our battles.
Know what you want to settle for
Not every single Millennial longs to have a career above a family. For some of us, having a so-called boring job that is meant for nothing more than paying the bills is not that bad, simply because there’s life after 5 pm.
These people want to play it cool in a society where our generation is supposed to be fast-paced, highly connected and in control of its wants and needs.
Knowing the things you want, on your own timeline, can help you consider and ultimately find a way to put your options together.
Try, be mistaken and then try harder
To put it simply, it’s not easy getting there. There will be times where you’ll have to go to a job you hate.
So, you lie to yourself for an uncertain amount of time, until you reach that point when you simply can’t take it anymore.
Usually, signs (anxiety, depression and boredom, to name a few) will show you it’s about time to check out. Then, you realize you f*cked up and you need to fix the matter so you can get back on track.
Chances are, it won’t happen overnight and your heart will probably bruise from disappointment more than once along the way.
The golden rule is to keep going; do not waste time contemplating your failure and, instead, use it as your stepping stone.
Don’t give up, no matter what
Of course, you can choose to settle. You can reassure yourself by pretending this is not so important and there is more to life than work.
You can turn a deaf ear to that little voice inside you or try to lock it up in a corner of your head, but if you think about it, you have to spend about eight hours of your day at work, usually five days a week.
And, you also need to add that time when you think about going to work, let’s say Sunday nights, and pretty much every other night, except maybe Friday. That’s a lot of time wasted for playing pretend.
It takes more than simply wandering and wondering; it demands structure, vision and self-discipline.
Develop the structure to put (and keep) your sh*t together, the vision so you know what you want your working life to look like and the self-discipline to live up to that standard every single day.