Life Lessons

A valuable life lesson.

Today, I read through yet another article that someone had reposted on Facebook. Normally these articles consist of funny ‘meems’, tragic stories, random facts, or fitness articles. Sometimes if the article is really funny, really inspiring, or really informative, I end up being a typical social media consumer and ‘share’ the article on my own page for all my friends to read themselves. But never have I come across an article so simple yet so inspiring as the one I read through today.

This article involves Mike Rowe, the guy from Dirty Jobs: a show I’ve never even watched (oops). He’s giving advice to a fan who e-mailed him about feeling ‘stuck’ in his career field and wanting that epic career that is impossible to find. You know the one: short hours, big payoff, exciting, constantly changing, hands-on, extremely stable, adventurous, and most importantly never boring. So no ‘9-to-5 desk jobs’.

Well Mike Rowe goes on to answer his fan in a simple, yet heartfelt response. He tells a story about a woman he’s friends with who is trying to find that perfect man, her soul-mate. The story doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what this guy e-mailed him about; but it is still intriguing because the way he writes it seems like he’s about to make a life-changing point for this confused youth.

Then BAM, you get to the part in the letter where he compares the two situations and straight up says to an adoring fan, Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job.” 

My immediate response (and defense mechanism) was, “Wow, someone is pulling out the typical ‘Dad’ comments…. is this actually going anywhere?” Even still, I continued reading, and I’m so thankful that I did.

Dirty Jobs man pops a can of “real world” on this kid’s ass. He basically says that there is no ‘perfect’ job and yet, you are the only one who can make a job seem perfect. He talks about putting forth a full effort in each and every job you have, regardless of your actual enjoyment of the job. He says that happiness doesn’t come from a job, it comes from knowing what your values are and controlling your own happiness. He talks about people being scared of and denying the fact that they are in charge of their own happiness.

All of this really hit home, because recently I’ve been completely rejecting my ‘career’ path and freaking out about if therapy is going to be a “right-fit” for me. I’ve gone through MANY different options for a career these past three years (to make sure I was graduating with the “right” degree) and turning down each and every one. Either it was “too difficult to make happen”, it would be “too tough on me”, or I just really didn’t want to take any more chemistry or math courses (can you blame me?!).

After graduating last May, with a Psychology degree, the only thing I was certain of, was that I wanted to help people regardless of what my future career would be. This past year-off before graduate school — this was my “designated time” to figure out what the HELL I wanted to do with my life — I have taught student-athletes and volunteered countless hours at a counseling center. A lot of days I’ve struggled with: getting up early, teaching these unmotivated and unappreciative students, and calling countless people to remind them of upcoming counseling appointments. I complained a lot and called out “sick” more times than I’m proud of. And yet, I still had no idea what job or career path was right for me.

But, now I realize that these negative thoughts and habits were only reestablishing my own negative behaviors. Everyone can fall victim to this terrible, catch-22 cycle; which is why this article helped me to readjust my values and thoughts. My own happiness isn’t formed from a job; it’s formed from within myself. I am the only person who can control my own happiness; so I damn sure better start doing just that!

I hope this article or some other random reading a friend reposts on Facebook can help bring you solace today; because you DO matter and everything else is just what you make of it.

Here’s the article if you’d like to read:


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