Crazy career path = successful marriage?

A large portion of the conference I attended this past weekend was to have an opportunity to network with the organization that funds my current research.  In order to get me pumped up about working for them and for them to line up future employees, there were several workshops about what their research interests/needs are, as well as workshops that focused on how we can further ourselves professionally, including how to find a job that is “the right fit”.

I think this idea of finding the perfect job right out of school is debilitating for many people my age.  I’ve heard of many students (as well as myself) who are so concerned with the job search and the “doomsday” feel it seems to bring.  What if they don’t like the one they choose and their stuck in a horrible, boring job for the rest of their lives?  The pressure is almost too much.

In one workshop, a man made an analogy that almost knocked me out of my chair:

“Don’t worry about having the first job you ever take fulfill you completely.  Most likely you won’t.  You’ll accept it and then a year later realize its not for you, but its just important to get your foot in the door.  See, your generation is very different than mine.  In my generation, your job was like a marriage. You get your job and you stay with it the rest of your life, no matter how much you don’t like it and want to try something new.  Nowadays, career paths are much different. You’ll have many jobs over the lifetime of your career and its very rare to stay with just one job.”

So…what does that say about our marriages now though?  Is our job not like marriage anymore, or is it just like our marriages now?  Why do we put so much pressure on the idea of our careers fulfilling us completely anyway?

I’ve heard about this trend before but I’ve never thought of it in terms of marriage and to have the man blatantly make the analogy was like being hit in the head with a 2×4.

Do you think the career path trend reflective of our “non-committal” attitude?  Or am just a random coincidence that I’m looking into too much?


5 thoughts on “Crazy career path = successful marriage?

  1. Hmm, haven’t really thought of that. In general, I think it’s much more a symptom of a much more mobile mentality. I think a lot of it is geographical, but I suppose commitment is an issue as well. I suppose our thought that everything in life has to make us happy might keep us searching a bit longer for some unattainable perfect job, but who knows?

  2. Oh, what an interesting (and sad) comparison! I’m not sure if it’s not wanting to commit, but I do think the our generation’s rather selfish mindset that ‘X must be personally fulfilling to us or we drop it’ is an issue.

    It’s interesting to think about this in relation to my youngest brother, a senior in college. He actually wants commitment. He’s craving a job that he will have for the rest of his life. But I believe he’s almost put too much pressure on this (sort of like your speaker was saying). The job has to be perfect – something he wants to wake up every day and be happy to go to (his words). He also wants to get married, but the right girl hasn’t come along yet. I’m wondering if this isn’t also symptomatic of this idealized desire to be “completely fulfilled.” In that way, I think your comparison is quite valid.

  3. I agree with the previous comments that the analogy is valid and a bit sad. To bring some optimism to the point. While growing up my dad gave me the typical “our generation” advice – “you don’t have to do anything if it doesn’t make you happy” He usually meant activities we were doing at the moment – learning to water ski etc., but it also related to all things in life. It was nice to have the freedom to choose and I knew above all, if I wasn’t happy especially in a relationship, I didn’t need to stay in it no matter how much my parents liked him – and somehow they loved any guy I brought to meet them.

    My point: I think the mentality does help in choosing the right match for a mate and is why dating is more popular now instead of being courted by the “right” person your parents picked out. In the end, I think most people, barring Hollywood, still see marriage as forever even if they don’t know how/haven’t been taught skills that aide in keeping a marriage strong. After all, he did say your job “was” like marriage and not your job “is” like marriage.

  4. I don’t think I have any room to be commenting on this as far as the marriage part of it goes, but to answer the other questions:
    “Why do we put so much pressure on the idea of our careers fulfilling us completely anyway?”
    I think that’s the way our generation was raised. We have so many options as far as careers go that it’s almost crazy to not find one that would fulfill you completely. And we all know ppl who’ve been blessed enough to be in lucrative careers doing something they love doing. Of course, I don’t think that our jobs should completely fulfill us. We’re so multi-dimensional, it’s ridiculous to think that one job could completely fulfill us. Which leads me to the next question…
    “Do you think the career path trend reflective of our “non-committal” attitude?”
    Nope. Again, we’re multi-dimensional creatures, and I think ppl who “job-hop,” so to speak, are just trying to find a way to make a living that suits whatever dimension they’re wanting to indulge. I’m a nurse, and I’ll probably be a nurse for a bit longer, but the there are many different ways to be a nurse. For one, I could travel (stop rolling your eyes, Alison, it’s going to happen… one day, haha) or I could switch specialties from ICU to ER or something. And who’s to say that I’ll be a nurse forever? It definitely fulfills my need to tangibly help people in a big way, and it keeps me on my toes, but there are so many other sides of myself that I don’t really get to use in my job (ie: writing, photography, music, etc). And the ppl I work w/ are all so diverse, too. Some used to work for jails, some as firefighters, some as housewives. And I’ve met many ppl who used to be nurses who now own their own companies or are waitresses or are housewives, haha.
    I think it’s different w/ ppl, though, for that reason, too: ppl are multi-dimensional. It’s inaccurate to say that your job is like your marriage (or relationship or whatever) because most jobs can only fulfill so much. Ppl only get fulfillment out of the way they carry out their relationship w/ God, I think, and the way they do that is pretty varied. Maybe one could say one’s job was like one’s marriage if one didn’t have a “career,” per se, and one’s “job” was to be a wife.
    Wow, I am so not articulate right now. I apologize if this doesn’t make sense. We can talk about this whenever I come over for dinner, haha. (Which will be…??? LOL.) :)

    • haha, i love your rambling anyway zharleen! maybe i just didn’t like his analogy to marriage…just it wasn’t necessary or pertinent.
      i know i suck…we’ll schedule dinner…Monday?

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