A young girl and THE JOB
Updated: Feb 5
A few days ago a teenager, bored at school, surrounded by adults who seem to have found their dream careers early in their lives, asked me how to know what job she’s gonna love doing. She doesn’t know that at 13 I wanted to be a doctor and save lives, at 17 I wanted to be a CEO and get rich. At 21 I wanted to be a marketer and make an impact, at 34 I wanted to understand supply chain and save the world, and now I am an artist who creates Moroccan babouches with a Canadian twist.
I was never after a job title as much as I was learning and creating value for myself and for others. Serving others with what brings me joy is my purpose, no matter the job title. But to a teenager who wants a short answer, this might be confusing, especially if a parent makes it seem like I was still looking for « my path », meaning a corporate job I will enjoy doing for the rest of my life. Let's suppose there is a dream job, being 13 now means that your "dream job" probably does not even exist yet.
Younger generations want to enjoy working while making an impact, but they want it faster than we ever did. Often, impact needs a lot of effort and time. Kids hear about success stories but are not aware of the work behind. There is no easy answer to where to start looking for your dream career. Although the pressure on younger generations is huge to find their "path" at 17 or younger, great news is we live in an era where you can have multiple successful careers in a lifetime.
Adults, especially parents, need to understand that there is no « path », there are millions of paths worth exploring. At any age in the spectrum of ages, you are allowed to explore and wander around and get lost and find your way back and fail and fall and dust yourself off and start from scratch or from where you are, again. Whether you have a job that is fulfilling or not, you can experiment everything you think will bring you joy and a sense of purpose.
THE JOB the teenager is thinking about and looking for now is a well paid, highly respected, extremely fulfilling career, who will make her friends jealous and her parents proud. THE JOB will help make an impact, bring success and make the boring school worth the hassle. Soon she will understand that not only that job does not exist, but what she wants will change and evolve over time. What does exist though is a learning process. We don’t find a career, we build it. I didn’t find my dream job so, I created one.
Life can be a very interesting experience if you are willing to play the game. Fulfillment depends on how fast this teenager will be willing to experiment and learn, how fast she wants to grow, how much she will care about other’s opinions and expectations, how gracefully she will handle failure, how fast she will make mistakes and take responsibility for them and tweak the way she handles herself in the world, how flexible she will be when she faces adversity, how she will solve problems and how she will serve people, how much risk she will be willing to take, how much kindness she will have in her…and the list goes on.
I don’t have an easy answer. I don't know what job will make you happy and for how long. I don't know what will happen when you are 17, 31, or 71. But I can say this: don't be afraid of things you've never experienced or experimented. There is no unique way of doing things, there is only your unique way. There is no professional life and personal life. There is only one life, too short to care about anybody's opinions over yours. If you are willing to experiment, life will tell you what job will make sense to you and for how long. THE JOB, really, is the journey to oneself, and it is totally worth it.