I did everything "right" coming out of high school.
I had a full scholarship.
I quickly got involved on my college campus.
I went to class every day.
I studied but didn't live in the library.
I used college as a time to crawl of out the quiet bookworm shell that I had developed in high school.
By the end of my four years, I was on a first name basis with the president of the university and graduated with honors. But despite the accolades, the gauntlet of tests, and the senior research project I was not a step closer to knowing what I wanted to be "when I grew up".
It could be argued that this large question mark was a result of my lack of focus. I started out majoring in agriculture, tested the waters of several degrees, and ended up with a degree in psychology.
It could be argued that I didn't have the confidence in myself that is needed to pursue anything of significance. "I made a 'B' in College Algebra. There's no way I could be a pediatrician," and "I'm not near as talented at writing papers as my friend who is pre-law; obviously there's no way I could hack it in law school," were common thoughts.
It could also be argued that I looked at every potential major (and the resulting career) in the light of, "Is this something I could do in small town Arkansas?" Home was literally all I knew and, as a result, had no intention on abandoning it. Anything creative was automatically was out of the picture: I hadn't the patience, desire, and (let's be honest) skill to be a high school art teacher. "What other creative options are available to someone who lived in a busting town of 10,000?" (As I and the Internet have grown, I realize this was a short sited view, but it was my view nonetheless.)
As a result, I've spent the last ten years in pursuit of the elusive answer to this question. The continual nagging of self questioning that happened in college led into a full onslaught of personal debate and constant uncertainty. After all, wasn't 20% of a real adult's time spent at their job? Wasn't this suppose to answer a major question about who I was as a person and, to a certain degree, map out how my life would play out? I was perpetually looking for the next best answer to this question. I continually swerved back and forth between the creative possibilities I truly desired and the practical pursuits that my blue collar background demanded.
As a week's worth of posts have described, I finally feel like I've discovered a good spot with blogging, but the past fifteen years of continuous job searching has altered the way I look at the world. I'm constantly observing the people around me, judging their career satisfaction level, and dissecting both their personality and job demands to see what kind of alchemy is needed to find that perfect job that eluded me for so long.
It is with all this in mind that I am psyched to tell you about a series I have in the works where I spend time with locals who have careers that I can honestly describe as enviable. While with them I spend time in the crossroads of passion, drive, intelligence, skill, and talent that each of these individuals uniquely possess. Starting this series has given me insight into my own search for the perfect career; I hope that it can bring the same sort of positive inspiration to you as well.
What about you: Was finding the right career instant like opening that perfect gift from a friend or was it more like mine (i.e.it resembles that horrid three hours in the fitting room trying to find a good pair of jeans)?