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Thread: A comment on the paradox of career choice and youth

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    Question A comment on the paradox of career choice and youth

    I would like to comment on what I perceive to be a paradoxical moment in life; Career choice.

    I am 21 years old, just graduated from business school with a bachelor of commerce (Marketing focus) in Canada. I am now set free in the world to make impossibly large decisions in terms of what to do with my life.
    Do I pursue marketing positions where I will do things I am not particularly interested in?

    Do I pursue being an artist, which I don't see as a viable job choice?
    Do I have a purpose? Do I have to have one?
    What makes one happy? Money or doing what one loves? Can a man be happy in poverty? Does one even ought to be happy at work?

    Work is work after all. Maybe we are not owed to love what we do. I don't think anyone loves accounting, but somebody has to do it. In this economically volatile world I would be lucky to even get my office job even though I have great marks and some ok experience.

    When I was younger I was so much more dreamy. I felt like wealth was my destiny, happiness was a given. But I am older now, graduated, and dreaming doesn't work as well. I am so much better now at art, at responsibility, cooking, networking, dressing. But it just doesn't seem good enough anymore. Whereas before I was such a dreamer that I could lift off straight into the clouds, now I can't find any evidence to believe. I just feel too old for all that, too smart perhaps? I can't feel like I know enough to make my career decisions.

    The paradox is, how could such important decisions fall into the hands of people most unequipped to make them? How could people as young as me even make a call? We know nothing, yet we must decide what course to take for the rest of our lives. Hardly seems like a formula for making a good choice.
    If only we could live out our lives, and THEN make a decision. That would make more sense I reckon. Only then I will be equipped with what is required to solve these questions. But in reality, by then, I will have already made my choice, be it right or wrong.

    Anyways, tomorrow I am going to a Pepsi recruitment session for a marketing position. I think I do wish to get the job. It will give me a bit of a purpose, which maybe be what I seek at the moment. Maybe I am ready to shed the feeling that I am special, that I will be famous, and that I can shake the world. Maybe I understand now how replaceable I am...

    How were your decisions made about your careers? How did you feel? Were you confident? Just share some thoughts on the subject.

    (I would like to mention that I am not experiencing any sadness or dismay here. Just confusion and a lack of direction. I am not complaining)
    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; January 17th, 2012 at 07:17 PM.
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    You mean a dilemma? I am sort of in the same position as you. Everyone wants to draw well, and many will stop drawing because they don't see a point in drawing in the long run. It is just like any other subject in school, which students might do less well in because they don't see the point of them in the long run. The important question is what is your goal in drawing well, is there a point to it? What is your goal in marketing? Do you like drawing for yourself or for others?

    If I were you, being a person also interested in marketing, I would probably take that marketing position, since it might be more stable of a job. For me, my dilemma involves physics and art, and I know I will take a job in research or tutoring of science, as long as it is stable, when given the chance(after I graduate).

    My psychology professor once said, "if you aim for the skies, you fall on the clouds, but if you aim for your front porch, you fall on horse shit". He is really old and has connection with inventors. He gave a lot of sound advice, but most importantly these advices make sense to me, and it might not for others. You want to make as great of an impact on human society given your profession. You want to strive to leave a mark, such that the generations that ensue will look up to you as a model. That would be aiming for the "sky". If you don't succeed, at least you would have overcame more challenges and difficulties than if you were to aim for your "front porch", and you would have still achieved more. All of this is to say, you can try to tackle both at the same time.
    Last edited by Vay; January 17th, 2012 at 06:58 PM.
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    If you enjoy the art side of things, just do it as a hobby. Maybe if you get good enough and still enjoy it by then you can try to pursue it as a career?
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    Slothboy, that is the reasonable compromise I am trying to pursue. Right now I have a few portraits that people have commissioned me, but I am also trying hard to find my marketing job.

    Vay I agree completely about aiming high, but I just feel like I know too much to be optimistic any more. I feel like I lost that youthful confidence and naivete.

    I used to feel like I am number 1 in the absence of all evidence. I kind of miss that stupidity..
    Last edited by Pavel Sokov; January 18th, 2012 at 10:39 AM.
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    Dont worry too much, enjoy your 20s, work hard, earn enough money to be independant, itll happen.
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    Yea but I am tired of enjoying stuff. I am enjoying things all day man, and it makes me a bit angry. I have it too easy. Yea I had student jobs in telemarketing and stuff, but if they stressed me out I just quit...

    I guess I am tired of my life being so easy.. I just want to contribute already, I want to stop being a 21 year old lazy piece of shit sponge that consumes his parents resources all day and night.
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    "I want to stop being a 21 year old lazy piece of shit sponge that consumes his parents resources all day and night...Yea but I am tired of enjoying stuff. I am enjoying things all day man, and it makes me a bit angry. I have it too easy."

    What the fuck? Youre 21 and youre whining about your parents paying for everything??? Well theres your problem my friend, tell them to cut you off, see if having no food or money for rent doesnt motivate you.. get a job, pay your way, self respect comes as standard.
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    Buddy, I'm 23 and getting a Marketing degree while also drawing on the side. My plan is basically to have drawing on hand as something that heals my soul after a long and arduous workday of making people hate themselves and their lives so they buy things. Eventually I figure I'll just become good enough to make money off my art, but I'm in no great hurry. Just chill out, life isn't a race. It's not a choice between marketing and drawing, you can do both.

    If drawing is important to you, you'll find a way to do it no matter what your day job is. If it isn't, you'll find an excuse not to.
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    Welcome to almost being an adult. You will have to strike a balance in your life between making money and doing what you want.
    Money provides opportunities that being poor doesn't. If you want to be an artist be a successful one not a poor one. Poor artists die early, suffer more trying to make ends meet.

    Don't let money control you but don't discount its ability to free you from bad situations, provide you with the means to promote your art professionally, and cover the basics in life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    Anyways, tomorrow I am going to a Pepsi recruitment session for a marketing position. I think I do wish to get the job
    You think you want the job? Dude, you will be so lucky to get the job. A job in your major straight of college? A job that pays over minimum wage? I know kids who would sell a kidney for that right now. The people I graduated with in '09 are still struggling to find work they're qualified for. And I'm not talking all art majors, either -- chemistry, government, law, communications, education, history, journalism etc. If they're even working at all (a bunch went on to higher degrees in hopes of finding better job opportunities in 2-4 years), they're either underemployed or randomly employed. No one is doing what they thought they would be doing. No one is doing what they want to do for the next 5 years, let alone the next 50.

    I'd say stop worrying about what career choice to make -- you're "career" will probably change several times in your life, anyway, so don't feel like you're making a pivotal decision at 21 -- and just focus on getting a job so you can be independent and self-sufficient.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post


    The paradox is, how could such important decisions fall into the hands of people most unequipped to make them? How could people as young as me even make a call? We know nothing, yet we must decide what course to take for the rest of our lives. Hardly seems like a formula for making a good choice.
    If only we could live out our lives, and THEN make a decision. That would make more sense I reckon. Only then I will be equipped with what is required to solve these questions. But in reality, by then, I will have already made my choice, be it right or wrong.
    You make it sound like there's some precedent already set for life. People like to pretend it's that way, so it's systematized and easy to digest, imho.

    Just pick something and go; the more time you spend worrying about it, the less time you have to live life. If you're not happy later on, then you'll know to change. It will happen, I'm pretty sure.
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    I've met people who were accountants, that then later made their living hand making violins to also becoming a traveling nurse. Life isn't as short as you make one choice and live with it.
    Last edited by JFierce; January 18th, 2012 at 04:25 PM.
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    Yeah, coming from a decent family and having the luxury to ask these kinds of questions usually ends badly. I guess that's another paradox.
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