Does anyone else get asked this a lot? I know Bailey and I certainly do and it often seems that most of our generation are in a similar situation. I have put it down to two things – either I attract people with similar aspirations to me, or we are Gen Y’s who are on a totally different wavelength to our predecessors…
It’s probably more likely a bit of both seeing as I know non-traditional careerists who are from other generations (including my dad) however; I am taking some poetic license for the sake of the title.
Everyone has a different story, a different reason, a different set of circumstances. I have friends in their mid to late twenties who are only now discovering what they want to do and going back to school, and others who still haven’t decided. I know people, including my sister, who work random jobs to fund their real passion for art, writing, performing, and filmmaking, who are just doing what they have to, to get by. There are others on my friends list who have moved overseas in pursuit of international happiness, and then there is Bailey – my closest and most poignant example – who has wanted to be an entrepreneur his whole life and is well on his way.
For me, I have wanted to work in film and television since forever. The past three or four years of my adult life (ie, after leaving uni and wasting a lot of time drinking too much) have been consumed with clawing for work in the industry in Brisbane, working dodgy in between jobs, and just plain being unemployed quite a lot. I could not even count or recall to you the number of times people have looked at me with bewildered expressions and asked how I can manage to live like that. But, just quietly, I LOVE IT!
Living the "dream" (sort of). Photo by Jesse.
Obviously being poor is not on my list of things to do. I like the idea of having a roof over my head and money to buy pretty things (and my recent move to Sydney will hopefully keep this a reality). But, that being said, I thrive on the idea of a constantly changing work environment with new challenges, different expectations, and (most importantly) an end date so that I can bypass the monotony of life and get through each day knowing that there is no way I will be stuck doing what I’m doing for the next 20+ years!
Call me crazy or disagree with my entirely, that is your prerogative (and I will not judge you for doing so) but that is how I like to live my life in a somewhat uncertain, but always interesting way.
These career and life aspirations could have a number of causes. Growing up with the Internet, substantial recent technological and social media advancements, and uncertain, ever-changing job markets are certainly some factors, but potentially more significant are the ambassadors for our generation who have become so by turning small ideas into overnight success stories (anyone heard of Facebook, YouTube, Google?). We could follow in the footsteps of previous generations and live to work, or create a whole new path and follow people who have show us that we can do anything we want – the world awaits us with infinite opportunities.
Working Hard - photo by Suresh
Apparently, Gen Y’s will have significantly more careers and change jobs more in their lifetime than any previous generation. This is a bad thing, why? Is there really anything wrong with trying until you find what you’re looking for? Striving for something better? Or holding your life to a higher standard so that you can look back when you are old and say you took every shot at having the best life you could? I don’t think so.
I don’t even think money is the primary motivator – although there is some attraction to the thought that ‘a million dollars isn’t cool, you know what is? A billion dollars’ – I think we are attracted to the idea that we can do whatever we want and create the best life for ourselves. My dream job involves all my favourite people getting to work together, preferably being creative while making money, and eating lots of cake. I’d really love to see judgey, other-generational, or just more mainstream people try and wrap their heads around that concept next time they ask me or any of my friends about our non-existent, not yet formed, or totally out-of-this-world careers…
P.S I have to thank my family for being super supportive about my life choices and putting up with me when it’s been tough!