Hayden’s posts about work choices and following one’s dreams have got me thinking about the impact that one’s career choice has on his or her life. For most people, the day dawns when they realize that there are indeed no free lunches.  Sooner or later, we enter the workforce, and according to individual circumstances, we stay there for years…perhaps decades.

We spend more of our 168 hours a week at work than we do in any other activity, except perhaps sleeping, and I know some people whose slumber is impaired because of something work related. It could be stress that causes insomnia, or it could be the necessity of actually being on the job both early and late to earn a buck. At the moment I’m thinking of an individual who awoke with a bout of insomnia at 4:00 a.m. on a recent Saturday and finally decided to go into work and try to resolve the problem that was robbing him of much needed sleep. I know another individual who, until he recently made a huge change in his life, said that every night in his “old life” felt like a Sunday night before a big exam on Monday. Yes, work was that crushing.

I don’t mean to paint a negative picture. I’m just trying to point out that how one makes a living eventually turns into how one makes a life. I also feel that there are tens of thousands of people (maybe more…I’m not too good with numbers) who like Thoreau indicated, are leading lives of quiet desperation. Why do so many people make such poor career choices? Do they even think of the importance of a good P/E (Person/Environment) fit, or are they mainly thinking of how much money they’ll make? Some people go into vocations because of family pressure or influence, while others go to work at XYZ Widgets because it’s the biggest employer in town.

Time is too short to get started on this too much today so I’ll just leave you with a couple of thoughts, the primary one being THINK ABOUT IT. And while you’re thinking, please know that there are dozens of interest inventories, personality tests, and aptitude tests out there to help you in your quest. Many of them are online. Plus, there’s a wealth of information in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Not that he knew it all, but Sigmund Freud reportedly said that love and work were the cornerstones to a full, healthy life. Don’t you think it’d be a good idea to put some serious thought into both of those so that you could make the best possible choices??

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