Later today I will be celebrating my big sister walking across a stage and getting a college degree.
For fear of a whupping, I won’t say how old she is, but let’s just call her a mature student.
I’m very proud of her and the hard work she’s put in over the past couple of years finishing something she started many moons ago.
It won’t be long before the local high schools hold their graduations.
Last June I wrote a column about some facts of life that they should know as they entered adulthood. But, I never talked about work, and I should have.
Back when I was a young reporter I read some college study that said the average person has seven careers in their lifetime. Not seven jobs, mind you, but seven completely different careers.
For every person who spends 50 years working in the same place, there is a fellow who job-hops every year or so his entire life.
Why would a person change jobs so often, and explore so many different careers? In some cases it’s because the person is a bad employee who gets fired or quits at the drop of a hat. Other times, though, it is a longing that goes unfulfilled.
Thomas Jefferson never said we were born with a God-given right to happiness. He said we have a right to pursue happiness. For many, that pursuit takes a lifetime.
Finding the “perfect” job is like searching for the perfect love interest — and often falls apart for the same reasons.
Perhaps as a kid we see a guy on a TV show doing something that looks cool, and we think, “When I grow up, I’m going to be just like him.” Maybe it’s being a cop or fireman or president of the country.
And just like having a crush on the cute kid sitting next to you in second period, it doesn’t matter if your friends tell reasons this choice won’t make you happy. You’re seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.
And just like with a new crush, the things that attract you to this job/person may be the things that drive you away.
After a very boring social life in high school, in college I fell for an artsy gal who was very exciting. Two months later when she was dyeing her hair purple, picking out a tattoo and talking about how brave her friend was for coming out as bisexual, I started to think I’d come too far too fast for my modest upbringing.
Being a cop or fireman can be exciting because while the average day can be boring like any other job, there is always that element of risk in the background. This could be the day that you get hurt on the job. That thrill can keep you interested in a career when you are young and single; it’s a different story a few years later when you have a spouse and a baby on the way.
Also just like in relationships, we can sometimes overcorrect with our next choice. After dating a typical country boy, a woman might next end up picking some metrosexual with a manicure, man bun and a clothing budget bigger than her own. A few months later, she might find herself browsing FarmersOnly.com.
A person tired of living in a small town like White Plains might take a job with a national furniture publication, get sent all over the states and even to a couple of foreign countries, then decide that all that travel is just too stressful, and he’d rather settle down back where he grew up. Worked for me.
As far as offering advice, I only have one piece to give. Find your passion.
That’s it. Find something that you really care about naturally, then dig into it and find a job.
There are tens of thousands of jobs that you have never heard of out there in this country. Some are just so distinct to one field that you’d only know about it if you worked in that field.
Only when Tom Brady was accused of deflating footballs did most Americans realize there are people paid to care for the footballs at the games each week.
If you love football, there are many jobs in the sport that have nothing to do with running and tackling. You could be a trainer who helps tape ankles and fingers before games. You could work for the stadium on game days. You could design marketing campaigns to sell more season tickets.
Dr. James Andrews is one of the world’s foremost authorities on knees. Athletes from all over the country will travel to Alabama to be examined by the best. Grateful former patients send him tickets to Super Bowls and World Series and NBA playoff games. And he’s stinking rich.
Love movies? Watch the credits of any film and see how many names go by. Hundreds of people work on a single movie and make decent money working in a field they love.
Whatever it is you love, whatever flames your passion, use it. Take that passion and become the best football protector on the sideline or the best “grip” in all of Hollywood.
Adam Sandler as a 30-something water boy for a college team sounds laughable, but if you take some specialty and make it your own, you not only can find a career, you’ll find that you have more pride in your work — and more job satisfaction.
And then you won’t feel the need to job-hop.
Jeff is the news editor and can be reached at 415-4692.