On Success

The more I see of the world, the more I understand that only about one in every one hundred people has a textbook career. You know the kind — doctor, lawyer, fireman — the ones kids are expected to answer with when asked what they want to be when they grow up. The other ninety-nine of us do something not so clearly defined or glamorous, like contractor for a fabrication plant or daycare coordinator. And we get along just fine.
     I used to really have a problem with that. I felt that if I’m not out there doing something big, changing people’s lives with every breath I take, pulling in the big money or whatnot that I was unsuccessful, that I wasn’t making the most of myself. And isn’t that what my generation has been told to do? We have been told all our lives that we could do anything we set our minds to, that we should “shoot for the moon, and even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” We were encouraged to be scientists and presidents, senators and surgeons, and frankly… who needs it?
     I’m not saying any of those things are terrible things to be, but… if everyone were a lawyer, we’d all be suing each other all the time and we’d never get anything done. If everyone were a doctor no one would need one. We can’t all have one of those textbook professions. The one piece of career advice I didn’t fully understand until now was to “find something you love to do and stick with it.” I used to always think that meant find a field you enjoy, like if you like rocks, be a geologist. If you like to write, be a writer. Now I see that it means more than that.
     Something you love to do doesn’t necessarily mean the field, it means the actual job. If you work as a clerk for an auto repair shop and you make enough money to support yourself and you look forward to going to work every day, then hell, that’s what you should stick with. I’d like to help organize city events or advertise with local businesses. It’s not rocket science, but it’s something I know I’ll love to do.

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