Something I hear many fellow twenty-somethings struggle with is their career. Because, if you just go out there and travel for an unknown period of time (we are not talking about single gap years here).. don’t you just waste your career? Isn’t your twenties thé time to figure out what you want, who and what you want to work for and make a solid ground for your future your career path?
And if you just ignore that all and go traveling instead, what happens with ‘the gap’ in your resume? What employer is going to want you if you have a resume filled with countless small jobs that don’t really add any knowledge or experience to your field of study? By the time you are reaching the big three-zero you might know a bit of organic farming, bartending, teaching English and making a stove from a beer can. But how is that going to help your career?
Shouldn’t you just.. get a REAL job?
What is a career?
When people talk about getting ‘a career’ it always seems to be connected to some kind of fulltime job – ‘A Real Job’, where you can develop yourself and build up more knowledge about your profession. When I look around, I see tons of people around the same age as me looking for this kind of job. Many don’t even find a job and are wasting a year or so working in a supermarket. Others find jobs they don’t like or do a poorly paid internship instead. All in the hope of finding that one and only perfect job that is going to help them establish a secured future.
However, when looking to the definition of a career, my good friend Wikipedia tells me that a career is: ‘a person’s course or progress through life. This includes an individual’s life, learning and work.’ In this case, everything you learn and establish adds to your career.
Do I want a career?
Honestly? If my career entitles working full time, doing a job I hate – no thank you. In that case, I really don’t need a career. But as said before, together with tons of other twenty-somethings I still struggle with this as well.
I want to develop myself, learn and provide value. Exchange the value I can add for something different. In our current society, the norm is to exchange your time for money. To get a job and let others decide over how you spend your time, in exchange for money to support yourself and your family. It basically means that you sell yourself to your boss.
A ‘real’ job seems to be the most secure and safe option to support yourself and function in the system we live in. But is that true? In most of the jobs you do the same thing over and over again, and once you get fired – you only know that specific thing and it might be hard to get another job. In where you will again – exchange your time for money.
I like my time and I prefer to decide myself how to spend it. Yes, maybe I would get a job to earn quick money, but I really don’t see myself working fulltime for someone else’s dream over a long period of time. I want to pursue my own dreams. Besides, I have way too many interests to dedicate my life to a certain job field. ;)
Not ‘A Real Job’
Why do most people get ‘A Real Job’? I think the answer is quite simple: to earn money and be accepted by society. But you can earn money in different ways. You don’t always have to exchange time – you can provide value. And of course, you don’t always need money. You need food, water, a place to sleep, some stuff.. Things that are valuable to you. So instead of exchanging time for money, think about it as exchanging the value you can add for something different that is valuable for you. Money is not more then a tool to define value.
Finding a way to provide your best value to others – that is the challenge. A challenge I am standing for right now. It doesn’t mean that I should get a job. There are numerous ways to earn money without actually having ‘A Real Job’. Point is, that it is not always seen as acceptable by society to do so. But well, I think I have let go of the idea of being accepted. I don’t want to let others rule my life any longer.
Anyway, for now I am looking into passive income, freelance work and starting my own business. Because, well, I don’t really want A Real Job.
Do you choose between having a career or travel? Are you combining them? I am really interested to hear your experiences on this topic!
For more inspiration, I recommend you to take a look at the ‘why don’t you get a real job?‘ series by Jamie from GreatBigScaryWorld! They really inspired me :)