My friend Kayla sent me a very appropriately named article for soon-to-be graduates called “What Should I Do with My Life?” a few days ago, and I just got around to reading it tonight. I think this is a question that swirls around in people’s heads probably from the time of their high school graduation until they reach retirement. I took away a few main points from the article that I think are really good pieces of advice for anyone looking for a job (me!!) and be fulfilled through their work.
First, the author (Po Bronson) mentions basically how much of a blessing it is to have the freedom and opportunity to ask ourselves this question. In the U.S., the job market is so broad that many (but not all) of us don’t have to work a job we really can’t stand our whole lives. We get to “be true to our individual nature” and seek work that suits us well. Second, he emphasizes that it’s ok to make mistakes, to not have the perfect, dream job at first or all the time. When discerning our calling, Bronson says, “Most of us don’t get epiphanies. We only get a whisper – a faint urge . . . It’s up to you to do the work of discovery, to connect it to an answer. Of course, there’s never a single right answer.”
Bronson also explains the importance of finding and following your passions within your work because it is meaningful and fulfilling. My parents have always told me to find my passions and through them I will meet people and discover opportunities. I know this is true, so I am trying to remember this. Speaking of my parents, when we get into discussions about dating and marriage and finding life partners, Mom always tells me that it’s the values that matter most. Bronson mentions this, too, when it comes to finding a good-fitting job– “You’ll be a lot happier if you aren’t fighting the value system around you. Find one that enforces a set of beliefs that you can really get behind. There’s a powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people.”
The article ends on a hopeful, encouraging note– that life is about discovery, not conquest, and that the process of trial and error helps us understand and fine-tune our gifts so we can offer them to the world. As I get more serious about searching for organizations that I can really see myself being a part of and applying for jobs, the wisdom of this article seems real relevant and also comforting. I am thankful for the journey of discovery in life. Plus, not much is really set in stone except birth and death, so that leaves plenty of room to grow!