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I Think I’ll be an Astronaut… or something…

So much of our lives are concentrated around our careers. How many times when you were little did someone ask you: “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” Even more interesting, how many times did the answer change?

I remember wanting to be everything from an author to a marine biologist, a teacher to a musician… a computer programmer. For those that are all ‘grown up’, are your current fields anything you wanted to be when you grew up? Is your current field even what you went to college for? And most importantly… are you happy? You know what, I’m not happy. I don’t enjoy battling traffic to get somewhere I don’t even want to go. I won’t post the company I work for now in hopes that Google doesn’t tag this post with my employers name… but if you dig through a very few number of posts, I am sure it will show up.

I don’t enjoy walking into the overly fluorescent building in the morning. Some day we’re going to find out that fluorescent lights are actually carcinogens, and we’ll all be in very deep trouble. I don’t enjoy going into my very nice and spacious cube, or sitting in my comfortable and ergonomically sound desk chair only to flip open a laptop and go into a coma for eight hours. I am not rugged Paul Bunion… but the majority of days I spend at work I don’t even see a glimpse of natural light between the hours of 9 and 5. Sure some of that may be my fault. I could take two minutes to walk outside, take a big breath and walk back in… but I’m afraid I would taste the fresh free air and make a sprint for the road forgetting about the clutter of papers, emails, and post-it notes my desk has waiting for me.

Yes, it is Monday, and yes, it is my first day back to work after a week long vacation, and yes… I am whining.

I came back to work today and checked my emails. I had 180 new messages from one week of being gone. Who needs that? I have now worked for this company for over a year. My one-year was on 7/5/2007… I have the ‘Happy Anniversary’ certificate hanging in my cube to prove it. I’m tired of it. I get tired of things quick though, it is not a good thing much of the time. I’ll play one video game for days, and then I’ll decide I can’t do it anymore and never touch it again. It drives my roommate crazy!

So here is my dilemma, on September 13th, I am going to Boston to visit my brother and his wife. That will mark the end of my second CoOp quarter… meaning that will end my required term with my current company. My original plan was to keep working part time, 20 hours a week to bring in the cash needed for my lifestyle on top of paying off my flight lessons while continuing to fly every few weeks. I now have another possible option of working at a Dell kiosk in a mall selling Dell computers, for a decent hourly wage and possible commission. I am currently making $14/hour from my current employer and would be making somewhere in the range of $8/hour at this new employer.

My commonsense tells me to suck it up and keep working with the company I am with now, much better money, and when the new CoOp quarter comes around I can find a different company that will also pay me a pretty wage. Maybe I won’t be as miserable when only here for half the time… The rest of my brain and body then screams no and tells me that I’m dying, sitting here surrounded by 6 foot barriers, white walls, white ceilings, fluorescent glows and hums.

Six foot tall cubicle walls, six feet deep in the ground… eh?

I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’m impressed if you made it through my whiny post. Feel free to leave a comment if you like, but this one was really for me.

Thanks for reading!

– Jason

Comments

Dad

Jason,

Make a plan to get out of debt (gives you a lot of career freedom – that’s the head part) and follow your passions (that’s the heart part).

Regarding passions – The most fortunate people are those who are able to link their career with what they are passionate about. This road should always be taken if such a job exists. You should be uncompromising if being an astronaut is what you dream about.

Having a career that steadfastly links your passions with your career, however, is not absoultely essential to a fulfilling and happy life. Many of us don’t know what the perfect job is or have so many skills, interests and passions that no one job can fulfill them all. In situations like this consider your career a journey. Take every opportunity to sample jobs that get you as close to your ideal job as possible. While you are young, experiment and don’t be afraid to try jobs that have links to what you truely enjoy (if you never tasted ice cream you wouldn’t know that you love it). Hopefully, this journey will help you get as close as possible to a career you love being part of.

A third option is to select a career that you like and then pursue activities outside of work that fulfill your passions.

The one option that you should never settle for is being in a career that you dislike (hate going to work each day – “Office Space”). This happens to some people because they either
1) don’t have the skills to go elsewhere (or aren’t willing to re-tool),
2)can’t financially afford to leave the job, or
3)don’t have the courage to break out of their career and try something new.
These people are doomed to unhappiness.

Finally, it’s OK to make decisions and select opportunities even if they end up being all wrong. Wrong decisions (as long as they are not fatal)are opportunities to learn and make course corrections. When you find that you have made a wrong decision, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, ask yourself what you have learned that will help you make a better decision in the future, and then try again.

Just some passing thoughts from a Dad who is proud of and loves his son – and always will.

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