I had a hard time starting my career when I got out of college. I have an arts degree and while I did my best not to flunk anything and generally enjoyed college, I wasn’t sure if being an artist was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I’ve always been involved in the arts. Always was one of the creative ones in grade school and high school, always involved in the school paper, always enjoyed arts class. I wasn’t spectacularly talented, just better than most and actually put some effort into it. I really liked writing though. I mean, I still do. But like most aspects of my life, my career was just something I stumbled into, not something I planned for.
I was not able to land a job right after graduating college. I applied to various graphic artist jobs but my portfolio was pitiful. I was lucky that my parents didn’t pressure me into taking a job I didn’t care about. They didn’t expect me to pay them back for anything nor did they expect me to give them a monthly allowance now that they were done paying for my education. I didn’t want to take the call center route, I just knew I would burn out so fast in that sort of job. I tried building my portfolio while I was unemployed but I guess my heart just wasn’t in it. I even tried selling some handmade accessories for a while. That was fun for a bit, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Then came my dad from his contract abroad, told me I should go home with him for a bit. While there, a family friend told me about a spot they had open in their non-profit that was currently working with the Typhoon Haiyan victims in our province. It was project-based, and I’d only be working for the four months the project had left. I was like, sure, seeing I had nothing better to do.
That job had me going from house to house, talking to different types of people, walking for an afternoon, hiking through muddy upland communities. I was well outside my comfort zone. But that job made me realize how many are living with basic human needs just barely out of reach.
Typhoon Hagupit also hit a couple of months after, and that experience made me realize how much we need to work on alleviating climate change. As I sat with my family in our church-turned-evacuation-site, I had sort of an epiphany. I was determined to continue working on helping the country, especially in the fight against global warming.
I sound so cheesy. It’s not like I’m doing anything grand anyway, just little things to help the cause along.
And even though the non-profit route is almost always not financially rewarding, I can say with confidence that I love what I’m doing. I would rather be working with people who are equally passionate as me, than be in a high-paying corporate desk job that eats away my soul.
Never compare yourself and your career (and other aspects of life, too) accomplishments to other people’s. I fell into this hole a few years ago and it is never pleasant. I’m lucky to have a good support system in my family and friends that they made me realize that no matter how amazing someone’s life seems to be, especially on social media, it’s never the whole story.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
I love my job but there are still days that it would be hard work. It should be hard work, but if you love what you do, the difference is you don’t hate yourself at the end of the day. You look forward to facing challenges and overcoming them because you feel a sense of accomplishment within yourself that no amount of money will equal.