Growing Up is Hard to Do

Friday, February 7, 2014 / 11:00 AM

I never had a "dream job," or one that I ever realistically pursued. When I was a kid and someone asked me what I thought I'd be doing when I grew up, my only answers were vague hopes: I wanted to be an archaeologist. I wanted to be an Olympic gold medalist. I wanted to live in a house made of cheese.

Three distinct problems:
  1. I hate dirt. I also don't think I understood what being an archaeologist would actually entail. 
  2. I'm the least athletic person most people in my life know.
  3. Unfortunately, a house made of cheese is 100% structurally unsound. (But it would age incredibly well.)
The idea of having a job was terrifying. My dad used to come home from work and spend an hour venting out his frustrations of the day to my mom. Why would I want to do something for a living that made me feel like dying?

"If I ever wake up and realize I hate my job, I'll quit," I wrote in my diary in sixth grade.

That's so much easier said than done when you're 12 than when you're 18 or 22. Although I had several reasons for quitting the grocery store in college and for moving from one internship to another in the span of one month in the fall of 2011, I don't think I ever really lost the naivety of the girl who wrote that sentence.

And it really is a naive thought. Of course you're going to do things you don't like. You're going to have to work that job that makes you feel a little down some days. You won't just graduate from college and land your dream job (and, if you do, then you're one of the lucky ones).

But I think because I've never had a dream job that I've never felt an overwhelming desire to stand up and quit because I wasn't happy with the job itself. I didn't start my career with a dream, so I couldn't be mad at something for letting me down--I only had myself to blame for whatever that feeling of anxiety and unsettled fear was between my ears.

And I'm learning, more and more, that even the perfect job has its dark sides too, and with every new door that's opened, there'll be new dreams waiting to surprise you when you least expect it.

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