Who remembers being a high school senior or a sitting in a college freshman orientation class and being asked this question, “Decide what you are going to do for the greater part of the next 40-50 years by taking this 50 question personality test”… Seriously? You are telling me this 50 question automated response test is what you are giving an impressionable 18 year old as a source to dictate their career choice? This is scary y’all. I can remember being told I was good at a few things, I was good with talking to people, I was good at working with kids and animals…so I should be a vet or a teacher. So I did what every other college freshman did and chose vet because I wanted to actually make money in my career, but then midway through my sophomore year I came to the realization that biology and chemistry were very hard. So, I threw away the first year and a half of my education and switched my major to education. I loved being an education major, it was so much easier than being a pre-vet student, and for the first time I felt really passionate about my career choice. I graduated from Harding University with an early childhood Education degree and I was ready to be the best teacher there ever was! But, after applying to over 40 schools I did not get a job as a teacher. This was crushing to me, why couldn’t others see how great of a teacher I would be? I became very angry and I started to doubt my entire career choice.
So, I then said to myself, “if my job can’t be something I enjoy, I should select a career where I make enough money to make it worth it”. Who else can share with me in this sentiment? So I went into sales thinking I’m good with people this should be easy…right? WRONG, sales is hard, especially insurance sales. I always think of my dad when I talk about this because growing up he had a saying that went, “there are two things everybody hates; banks and insurance companies”. I can attest to this, because in the commercial insurance world unless a company is upset with their agent or the price, it is not worth their time to talk about it. Insurance is viewed as a necessary evil by everyone.
So what am I to do? As a millennial I know I have accepted the worst economy ever, along with the worst job market ever. I’m lucky to even have a job, so should I really be complaining?
I could be wrong but I believe this is where a whole lot of people are at in their lives, and I believe the problem stems from how we were taught growing up. Education has done a good job of teaching kids math, history and science. But I believe education has failed in teaching kids how to be creative. Children are the most creative beings on the planet, they do not concern themselves with the how, but rather the why. Children accomplish extraordinary things, and they pursue their passions relentlessly…until they start going to school. School is where they learn that to be successful they must be realistic. We are taught to pursue wealth, not our passions. And even if you were lucky enough to go to a school where they encouraged you to pursue your passion, did you actually do it?
The majority of the population of America today lives for the weekends, just look at your Facebook or Twitter news feed on a Thursday or Friday. We as a society dread Mondays because we are forced to do what most typical Americans hate, their job. You know that pesky thing you will be doing from the time you are 18 till you die. Yeah, let that sink in.
Now, I don’t know about y’all but I would much rather enjoy my life making $50,000, rather than hate my life making $100,000. I could be alone in this, but I doubt I am. We are all searching for happiness out of life, but we vary differently on how to get it. Look at all of the people who have all the money in the world, yet are miserable. This tells me that money is not the key to happiness. Now, I am not going to tell you what your key to happiness is, but I am suggesting that a large portion of your happiness is dictated on what you do a minimum of 40 hours a week. I guess what I’m saying is it might be time we re-think the way we decide what our career should be. Maybe we should focus more on what the individual needs, rather than how they answer a 50 question standardized test. Maybe we should encourage people to focus on pursing their passion, and less on what is going to make the most money. Maybe we should encourage dreaming a little more, and memorization a little less. As Ken Robinson says, “My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status”.
John Max Bolling