Jobs vs Career: A daily dilemma

When I was younger, I was so anxious at finishing my studies, getting a job that I really want and preparing for my future. I’m the eldest in a brood of four and I didn’t come from a well to do family, so the pressure of an impending responsibility was just waiting there for me to act on. Nevertheless, I managed to finish my university degree under a scholarship. I was able to get a decent but not a dream job.

Like most young, fresh from the college oven 20-year olds, I was so idealistic. I’ll get a job I love, I’ll be able to save and by the time I reach 30, I’m already a successful career woman with a car, a house, a Master’s degree probably, and my own business. Well, that was success for me at that time. Or so I thought. 

As I grew older, I kept on hearing the same story. I don’t know if I should be thankful I’m not the only one experiencing a quarter-life crisis or rather feel devastated that being successful seemed like a strike of luck for anyone. I’ve read several blogs and articles telling me how I should learn to accept that things just don’t happen the way you wanted it to be. That we don’t get the jobs we really like. (Why am I reading those blogs anyway?!). That jobs are there to pay for our bills, our weekly grocery, our studies, our kids’ studies… I could go on.

But then again, don’t I want a career more than just a job?

I suddenly missed that 20-year old yuppie who’s striving hard to get her dream job. That person wanted to feel her worth in this world. To contribute something to the world, no matter how small it is. To share her talent. To achieve her goals and yet do something that she really loves.

I attended a seminar last year about the role of a laity. The seminar was supposed to help us understand and link the two worlds: faith and the world we live in, which according to the priest, is a struggle among Catholics like me. Okay, before you raise you brows, I’m not going to lecture you about my religion. There was one thing that struck me and kept me thinking what have I been doing all my life. He said that “jobs were created to help you survive in this world, but it is your life’s work that gets you going.” Life’s work? So what does that exactly mean? Work, by the way,  is regarded as a form of vocation in a religious sense. Correct me if I’m wrong but that’s how I understood what the priest meant.

Anyway, so he did say it is life’s work that gives the person the reason to live. This gets me to my point of understanding what do I really want to do and what am I doing now. Is this a job or a career? Do I need a job or a career?

I’m happy for those who have accepted the fact they needed to keep their jobs and feel happy or contented about it rather than having none. But I’ve been saying the same thing for the past years and there’s always that voice inside my head saying, “If I look back at life 20, 30 years from now, can I say I did a damn good thing?” Did I made use of my talent and time wisely?

It sounds easy to say, “Go for what you love! Get that career you’ve always wanted!” I would dare say, it’s not that easy but it can be done. You know that feeling when you succeed at something, failure comes along. Well, that’s the risk we all have to take. I have to take.

As I ponder on this dilemma more often than before, days pass, seasons change, and years will go by, I need to move where I’m standing at right now. It’s not about doing EXTRA in ordinary anymore, I’ve been doing that and still felt incomplete. This time, it’s about taking another leap of faith again.

And I’m leaping far this time.


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