Job v. Career

In Business School, Life on April 11, 2011 by thebetweenthoughts

While talking to one of my classmates last Friday, we veered into the dreaded subject of what our plans were after school.  It’s always a delicate question at business school since you never know who is all set for the rest of their lives and who has failed horribly at recruiting (me!).  After that initial brush of awkwardness, we started talking about embarking on a career for the first time.  The expectation after attending graduate school (and in particular, a professional graduate school) is that you’ve finally chosen your career.  You’ve finally found the pursuit that will provide liberty, life and happiness.  It’s much different than your undergraduate years, where no one ever thinks that the first job taken lasts them a lifetime.

At almost 30 years of age, isn’t it about time to have a career?  I have bounced around the biotech world, the consulting profession, the nonprofit space and, currently, the banking industry.  Have I found a career path in any of this?  It doesn’t seem like it…not yet.  But aren’t I running out of time?  Am I afflicted with so much ADD that I’ll never be able to settle down on a career?

Like most people my age, we were told as children that we could be anything we wanted.  Unlike other eras, any opportunity was genuinely available for us.  Instead of embracing that opportunity and becoming a special generation, we focused instead on the “want” aspect of the lesson.  We didn’t know what we wanted.  We’ve been paralyzed by the options.  Numerous studies have pointed out our lack of loyalty at work.  I’m not sure if it’s loyalty that’s lacking, or if it’s just a lack of conviction.  We’re constantly hedging our bets and refusing to commit fully.  Instead of acting, we think…and think…and think.  [Of course, isn’t that what this blog is about?  Me…thinking and thinking and thinking…without ever resolving anything?]  Maybe that’s why a site like Facebook is so appealing to us, we’re able to engage in our thoughts without any real consequence of action.

A career sounds nice, but the reality of something so permanent is frightening.  Isn’t one of the major tenets of life that nothing lasts forever?  I’m not sure if I’m ready to choose yet.  My ready made excuse is that I enjoy “new” challenges, but we all know that I’m just scared.  Fear of the unknown pales in comparison to the fear of the known…especially a known that becomes more and more familiar over time.



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