I’ve been alone with my family for the entire weekend. No friends around, no one to talk to on a peer-to-peer level to get advice from…it’s thrown lots of stuff into my head and now I feel like I’m going to explode if I can’t get some of it out. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, read my latest entry. As stupid as it sounds, sometimes I wish I had the Pensieve thing from Harry Potter so I could filter them one by one and go through and deal with them as I can.
Anyway. After a very disconcerting weekend of chatting via gchat with PJ….with whom I don’t know if he sees a future (which is a story for another entry)…he kept saying “Find a job you want, and can make into a career.” And honestly I don’t really know the difference between a “career” and a “job.”
- an occupation or profession, esp. one requiring special training, followed as one’s lifework: He sought a career as alawyer.
- a person’s progress or general course of action through life orthrough a phase of life, as in some profession or undertaking:His career as a soldier ended with the armistice.
- success in a profession, occupation, etc.
- having or following a career; professional: a career diplomat.
—Synonyms: vocation, calling, work, lifework, livelihood.
- a piece of work, esp. a specific task done as part of theroutine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price: She gavehim the job of mowing the lawn.
- a post of employment; full-time or part-time position: She was seeking a job as an editor.
- anything a person is expected or obliged to do; duty; responsibility: It is your job to be on time.
- an affair, matter, occurrence, or state of affairs: to make the best of a bad job.
- the material, project, assignment, etc., being worked upon: The housing project was a long and costly job.
- the process or requirements, details, etc., of working: It was a tedious job.
- the execution or performance of a task: She did a good job.
And furthermore. I know the general gist of it. A career is something you can enjoy and also make a living off of. And a job is….what? Isn’t a job the same thing? What about “Career Waitresses?” Isn’t that just a length of time thing? What if you are at a job for 10 years…does that make it a career? When is that switchover? And furthermore, if a job is only something you do temporarily, couldn’t you make job-hopping into a career?
Martin Luther King Jr. said: “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music, sweep streets like Leontyne Price sings before the Metropolitan Opera. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well. If you can’t be a pine at the top of the hill, be a shrub in the valley. But be the best little shrub on the side of the hill.
Be a bush if you can’t be a tree. If you can’t be a highway, just be a trail. If you can’t be a sun, be a star. For it isn’t by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”
When I read this speech in…maybe 6th grade, I took it to heart. I tried to be the best student, the best friend, the best daughter and sister…everything I could be. Because if you have pride in yourself, and in your work, and in your person, then it wouldn’t matter if you were a garbage man or a king. As long as you are always doing your best, no one can look down on you.
The other half of it is that I have never been someone to let an occupation define who I am, or validate my skills and who I am. An occupation is simply that: something to occupy my time and earn income, so that I can do the things I really want to do, like race, and golf, and snowboard. So where PJ said that being a secretary made me look like I was lazy, and didn’t apply myself, I don’t see it that way. I saw it as a boring, easy, but pleasant and well paying job with good people and a good company culture. And if you’re going to be a secretary, you might as well be good at your job, and be proud of the work you do. Which, I am.
The rest of this comes with a dilemma: I don’t know what I want to do, or what I like, or what will make me happy. I think I would like to be a math teacher, or would like to be an engineer. But it will take at least 2 or 3 years to receive the required credentials for that, and who knows if I’ll even like it. And then what, I’m without a career again, or in a job I hate?
Like I said. I’m lost and alone.