I’ve been asked before if I’m passionate about my full-time job, and my answer is generally “not really”. While I am thankful to have landed my current position, and love that it allows me to put into practice what I spent four years studying in college, I don’t necessarily feel passionate about the work I do all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being an online content manager and am thankful for the opportunity to have such a career in this economy, but could I be happier if I was doing something else? Possibly. I’m honestly not sure.
Many of us twenty-somethings use these first few years after college to discover ourselves, become entrepreneurs, or work part-time jobs while delving into our passions. While I’m not on this path currently, I think that if you can figure out a way to support yourself while pursuing a passion, then now is definitely the time to go for it!
What’s not okay is when people choosing to take an alternative employment route lump people like me into “sell out” corporate post grads that aren’t living a passionate life. They see us as office drones that are going through the motions of a dull workdays in dimly lit cubicles, waiting for quitting time. They don’t understand how someone could pursue a career they don’t absolutely love.
I believe that passion comes in different forms for different people. While one person may be passionate about the same thing for their whole life, my personal passions seem to be in a constant state of transition. In fact, I’m not even sure that I’ve reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what my life’s passion may be. All that I know is right now, I am passionate about being independent and having the chance to explore. Both of these things require money, and my full-time, less than glamorous position is what allows me to make the money necessary to do this.
Yes, there are days when I completely envy young entrepreneurs, and stress about whether I’m living my life to its fullest. But then I stop myself and think, “what part of my career could I change right now to make myself feel better?” I always come up empty-handed. There is not one, specific, urgent piece of the puzzle missing in my life right now when it comes to my career goals. Maybe someday I will find that there is a passion I’m meant to pursue, and it will be so overwhelming that I’ll figure out a way to enter the world of entrepreneurship. But for right now, I’m not “selling out” or “settling”, I’m just trying to be happy as I continue to discover myself.
Of course, I know that not all post grad entrepreneurs and passion seekers feel this way about people with corporate positions. I also understand that there are certainly corporate employees out there that look down on young people who are taking alternative career routes. Unfortunately, for those of us who are open to all possibilities, we’re often shoved into one stereotype or another by our authority figures, peers, and friends over at The New York Times.
Whether you’re working for yourself, unemployed, working in the corporate world, or at a less traditional job, it’s important for all of us to recognize that what may not work for us could be the key factor driving someone else’s career. We’re not all meant to pursue the same path towards a fulfilling life and there is no need to judge someone else’s.
I think most of us have enough on our hands just figuring out our own.