History is the autobiography of a madman – Alexander Herzen
Well it’s that time of year again… No not Valentines season, or Lent, or the snowiest part of the winter season. It’s tax season! Or… as H & R block calls it, “Refund Season!” Where we all get our W-2 and send in our taxes and hopefully get a sweet refund from our wages earned in 2014. I was very surprised when I had no less than 5 W-2s. from last year. Apparently I worked 5 different taxable jobs. That can’t be right I thought as I looked back… Well I was teaching in the fall…worked at a summer camp…am a youth minister on Sundays…also coached high school tennis in the Spring….and supervised tennis instruction for my city in the fall and spring.
It was quite a busy year. This of course doesn’t count the manual labor I did in exchange for rent at the camp I was living at nor the after school care I did for some side for extra cash. So yes, I had quite a busy 2014.
This situation isn’t as uncommon as you may think anymore. I’m talking about changing your life and your work. While 5-7 different jobs in one year probably isn’t desirable nor sustainable, the old progression of grade school – college/workforce – 1 job – retirement – death is gone. One major change of the 21st century is being able to move and move purposefully.
A friend of mine went from a cashier at a bookstore to a cook at a food store to being promoted several times and running a region of those food stores to being a firefighter/EMT. He majored in English.
Another friend was a lifeguard then became a job recruiter and now is a teacher. He majored in business administration.
A 3rd friend went to college in Maryland, majored in English/secondary education. Long term subbed for a couple months, worked for a newspaper in Florida, and now does digital marketing in L.A.
Possibilities are literally endless in the modern era if you’re willing to work, learn, search and change. The notion of “starting over” is much more achievable now than it ever has. And we have all sorts of reasons to start over.
Friend 1 had a DUI that derailed his life for a little. Then found that, while he was making a good amount of money running a regional food franchise there wasn’t anything fulfilling about it.
Friend 2 had a similar feeling about recruitment. It was boring and unfulfilling. He found much more enjoyment and fulfillment in teaching and working with kids.
Friend 3 had a bad experience with teaching. (He was told that the teacher he was subbing for came back unexpectedly and he not need to come back while he was spending Spring Breaking in South Africa.) He decided to give away many of his belongings (I scored a sweet bed out of it) and move 1000 miles away. He’s a fan of good weather and decided to travel wherever and as often as he can.
What’s the common denominators in those examples? Not being fulfilled, and doing something about it.
It wasn’t too long ago that a job opening in a small town would only be heard about in that town. There was no job listing sites, no Linked in, and no hope that there was something different than the job they studied to have, or a job close by was the only job they could find. This is a little insane when you think about it. A decision you made when you were 18-20 and still not having a fully formed brain is should impact you for the rest of your life. Of course there are career changers but this is a relatively new phenomenon. But now it’s become common. My father worked for decades as a engineer in the corporate world and now helps run a homeless shelter for families.
We all want to be happy and make money. We like the idea of change but fear what happens if the grass turns out to not be greener. Because of our culture and our technology we can do whatever we want, wherever we want, and if it doesn’t work out then continue on our journey. So no, I don’t want 5-7 different jobs next year. I don’t even want more than 2. I had a year of trying out different areas of interest and seeing what I was good at and what I enjoyed.
There is a reason why guys drop at 40 from a heart attack in addition to poor diet and excercising. If you drive over an hour a day to get to a job that’s stressful and leaves you unfulfilled. Why continue on like that? Mostly because they have a family to provide for. Even if they don’t they still have bills to pay and leaving a job that sustains you for a job that fulfills you can be scary. Sometimes you have to start at the bottom, sometimes you have to move far away, sometimes it takes faith and time, but it’s possible and it’s out there waiting for you.