Can You Do Anything?
Last week, Deshawnt wrote a post about what it takes to be successful. Although I don’t agree with the entirety of his thesis, I can totally see his point and his reasoning. Life is hard, full of ups and downs and disappointments. I have had plenty of them, especially the past few years, so I know it takes a specially upbeat person to not want to find the highest two story building and jump off.
Disappointments and unreasonable life circumstances can occur in every facet of our lives, but they are especially apt to come up in respect to our career path or desires. Inevitably we have all been asked that one question somewhere, at a party, on the bus, or in her DM’s…
“What do you do?”
Some people can’t wait for that question. Those folks have known they’ve wanted to be a newspaper reporter ever since they first seen’t Larry Applegate befriend his wacky Mediterranean cousin Balki Bartokomous on Perfect Strangers. Other folks, like me, haven’t been as lucky. For them what they do is intrinsically linked to their careers. For the rest of us, it aint that easy. See, what I do doesn’t necessarily make me money. I podcast and aint no income coming in on that one. I read. I play guitar. I joke. And I identify more with any of those things more so than my current profession.
Now, I know exactly what you are thinking, “But Chris you’re probably like the majority of Americans who are working in a field unrelated to your degree.”
Well, you’re wrong, because I have the exact job in the exact field I earned my graduate degree in. So, whats the problem? I can’t answer that for everyone, but I can say that perhaps I didn’t exactly pick the greatest degree field for me? Maybe, maybe not. Thats still up in the air. So, by one measure, I’ve failed, right? I’m unsuccessful. Maybe, maybe not.
Personally, I don’t think I have failed, because I still believe I can do whatever it is I desire to do in life. Yes, even at the ripe old age of 31. Even after being out of undergrad for 9 years and graduate school for 5 years. I still believe that if I woke up tomorrow and decided I wanted to be the CEO of Fortune 500 company, I could still do it.
Am I naive? Do I think too highly of myself? Did I leave the stove on at home?
I don’t have an answer to any of those questions.
Since I don’t have the answers, I decided to see what other folks thought. I developed a small survey, sent it out, and was fortunate to get a number of responses. Keep in my this survey does not contain Carbon, so its not completely scientific. Editors Note: Chris may have failed biology in college.
I wanted to know what measure of people were working in a career exactly or closely related to their degree field. Furthermore, I wanted to know if they believed that they could still do whatever they wanted regardless of whether or not they were working in their “chosen field.” The results are shown below
Most people believe a person probably or definitely can do whatever it is they want for a career. So, maybe I’m not that naive after all. Older people in my age range are just as optimistic as I am. This is encouraging, because the older you get the greater likelihood something has happened to knock you on your behind parts. Knowing that despite less than ideal circumstances, most people believe you can dust yourself off and become the greatest dustpan salesperson ever is an amazing thing. We are more resilient than it seems.
Another thing is that for all those respondents who believed a person could do anything, their own desired dream careers span a variety of fields. The optimistic are just grouped into a narrow focus of careers, but range from motivational speakers to social workers.
So a few takeaways from this point should be that success doesn’t have to necessarily be defined by what you do for a job, but if that is your measure and you aren’t doing what you want to, there are a lot of folks out there that believe you can do whatever it is you want to.