2018-04-18 / Opinion

In My Opinion

Your career Is not your calling
BY CATHRYN LIEN
2014 CPS grad

Twice in my life I’ve been asked one of the most important questions I’ll ever answer— once at kindergarten graduation and the other time at high school graduation: What do you want to be when you grow up?

At 5 years old, I had a billion odd ball answers, like ballerina, musketeer or secret agent. When I was 18 years old, my answers were more refined, like digital media consultant or office administrator, but I still didn’t have a clue. In three weeks, I will graduate from Asbury University with my bachelor’s degree. At my third graduation, I expect I’ll be asked this question:

What are you going to do now that you’ve grown up?

The simple answer I’ll give is related to my degree in Creative Writing. I’ll continue to freelance write and apply to entry level jobs where I can use the skills I learned in undergrad. “I’m going to be a writer,” I’ll say. “I’m going to work in an office, pay my bills, and maybe- if I’m lucky- publish a novel.” But this will only be half true.

What do you want to be when you grow up? and What do you want to do now that you’ve grown up? usually have interchangeable answers regarding a person’s career, but the connotations behind these questions are vastly different.

Most people reading this article are well past applying to entry-level jobs. Many are at the middle of their careers or somewhere near the end. I hope that what I have to say will resonate with people at all stages in the job market. In my opinion, I think we’re selling ourselves short if we think that the job that puts bread on the table is the only thing that give us purpose and meaning.

Even though there are a lot of opportunities in my field, I can see myself working in several different jobs that have nothing to do with writing or communication. I’ve always been interested in gardening and agriculture, so maybe I’ll work on a farm. I enjoy customer service, so maybe I’ll apply to retail work. I want to travel, so maybe I’ll take on seasonal work in Alaska or abroad. There’s also the possibility that no one will hire me in my field of work, and I will have to take up work elsewhere to make ends meet.

The job I take post-grad might be something I do just to pay the bills. If I’m not working in the career I love, does that mean I’ve missed my calling? I don’t think so.

I think we are called to a lot of different “positions” in life. Some of us are called to be moms and dads. Some of us are called to serve the homeless, the impoverished and the underprivileged. Some of us are called to tutor children, and some of us are called to paint, sing and dance for the sake of making something beautiful. And all of us, no matter the profession, are called to be kind.

I believe what I’m going “to be” and what I’m going “to do” are not one in the same. My career will be in writing, but who I will be? To be determined.

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