“No learned skill is wasted, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to love your job and love other things too. This is your career, not your marriage.”
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Sometimes, you fall in love with what you are exposed to.
I’m the daughter of an architect and, lo and behold, I find myself working in property and infrastructure. A psychologist somewhere will guarantee that this was no accident. My sister is currently studying law thanks to a certain American TV show she got addicted to (and if my parents ever read this, the ‘grown-up reasons’ she gave you before you agreed to pay her tuition fees are still admissible). Again, exposure.
The truth is, there is always more to life than what you are exposed to. What happens if you choose to study finance at university, but then happen to fall in love with psychology after you take a random course in your first year? What about if, in your fourth year, you take it upon yourself to build a new website for your university’s Finance society, then fall in love with web development too? These are only hypothetical situations to you, but they happened to me.
I’ll be honest with you here – I thought there was something wrong with me. There’s nothing flattering about finding out just how indecisive you are. My friends were seemingly falling in love with their one career choice and here I was, psychologist-in-training on Monday and venture capitalist on Tuesday. To make matters worse, I graduated and decided to tie everything up with a Masters in Real Estate. I also want to be a novelist. Complete nightmare.
When I started jobhunting, I found out (to my pleasant surprise) that employers actually like that sort of thing. It makes them curious. They like flexibility, I was told, and demonstrating a range of skills in different areas makes you a valuable asset. It’s useful being a master of your trade, but it’s no good being a one-trick pony. One-trick ponies sink with the ship when industries collapse because they are left with no transferable skills.
That’s great, I thought, because humans aren’t just one thing. We are complex creatures and should be free to express that in as many ways as we are comfortable with. With knowledge at our doorstep now thanks to the internet, there really is no excuse for not exploring who you are and what you may or may not be good at.
Recently, a friend of mine told me she was thinking of taking online classes in web development to broaden her horizons. She loves her job, but she also loves to build websites. One day, she may have the choice of either keeping her current job or being a professional developer. Or both.
No learned skill is wasted, and I’ve learned that it’s okay to love your job and love other things too. This is your career, not your marriage. Keep your options open. Although admittedly, you are unlikely to be both a doctor and a lawyer simultaneously.
Finding all this out was great. But I’ll tell you now – nothing compares to how I felt when I came across Emilie Wapnick’s TEDtalk on Multipotentialities – i.e. people who don’t only have one true calling. You mean to tell me that there are other people out there like me? I will continue to freak out in merriment while you soak in her words in the video below.
All images obtained from Shutterstock