The Million Dollar Question

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Isn’t that the question we hear countless times, over and over throughout our lives?  We spend our entire childhood hearing the question as we search avidly for answers and, as our graduation from high school nears, the overwhelming pressure begins to really set in for us to hurry up and choose our career path.  Most of us choose quickly, randomly, feeling as if we are running out of time to consider it further.  My career path has altered countless times, just as I know many of my friends have.  I’ve always thought that my first response in Kindergarten the most brilliant one.  I got on stage and announced to all the parents and children in the assembly that when I grew up, I wanted to be a baby that played with toys.  After all, isn’t that essentially what we all want in life; to be happy and have no worries?  That is the epitome of happiness and satisfaction, to simply enjoy our careers.  No one wants to dread going to work every day.  It takes a major toll on us and on our personal lives.  But I can be sure of one thing already, and that is almost 100% of the individuals reading this article have worked at least one job that they were unhappy at.  I am almost willing to bet 100% have.

I recall all the adults chuckling at the Kindergarten ceremony at my response.  After that I decided to be a veterinarian (until I realized you had to do surgeries on the poor animals), a pop-singer (until I was told I couldn’t carry a tune), a professional cheerleader, an interior designer, a marriage and family therapist…. The list goes on and on.  So here I sit, at age 26 after having started college for Interior Design, taking the next semester off, switching schools and majors to then graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy currently.  Impressive to some as having a Master’s Degree may be, however, since I have not gone further to utilize that degree, I often question that assumption.  They neglect to inform us during our childhood just how difficult it can be to choose a career path and stick with it.  There are many reasons to change and become unhappy with the choice.  Most commonly it is lack of employment opportunities within the field, or the salary, or the licensing process and cost of education to move toward it, or sometimes we just don’t fully understand what the career entails and that it may not bring us the happiness we once thought.  We were lead to believe it would be easy; teachers, adults, professionals say just pick a career path and go to school and find a job.  Period.  Easy peasy, right?

But yet here I sit writing this, still trying to find my place in my mid-twenties and here you sit, reading this so you can find your place.  So we must ask ourselves, what makes us happy?  How do we find joy in our careers?  How do we do what we love to live more stress free and satisfying lives?  I think I just found my answer as I write this, words flowing from me and happiness growing as I share it with all of you.  After all, didn’t the saying once go something like the answer is right in front of you?  Maybe slowing down and taking your time to choose a career is not such a bad thing.  If I could choose taking a risk and a leap into a career that is unknown to me compared to settling for one that did not bring me the same happiness and more stress, which would I choose?

I think you’ll see.

© 2016 Jacquelyn Staggs


One comment

  1. Gale Townsend · January 7, 2016

    Jackie I agree totally… I don’t feel as young adults fresh out of high school that many young people know the career they want to spend the rest of their working lives doing… I for one never really figured what I would have liked to do for a career choice until I was in my 40’s… A little late but still it really was not what I ever thought or considered when I graduated from high school… Keep writing… I love your blog… Gale


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