My son is thinking of going back to his former job, one where they loved him and he loved them. They offered creative collaboration, something he realized after he left, that he loved. This was an unpaid internship offered by a financially strapped start-up company that turned into a paid one, and then whenever he suggested that he might like to take on outside work or leave for a better opportunity they threw more money at him. He is twenty-two and just finding his way in his first work experiences and for a first work experience this one was fantastic.
So the point is this, when he told me about the fascinating job that he moved to after the start-up, that pays a gazillion dollars by most standards, particularly for a young kid like him, I was delighted and joyful at his great success. But then….the perfect sounding job did not turn out to be as stimulating or as fun as the little internship that had grown. He left the nest of that first job to enter the world of ‘real’ jobs and found the disappointment of a standard, middle of the road, corporate job. At least this is what it all seemed like to me.
So last night we had a conversation about, well, basically, about selling your soul. Why have a fancy sounding job that pays a ton if you don’t like it and pine for the former, less exotic, but truly stimulating one? I felt odd about this, watching the little boy I played Playmobil games with, and that I read so many books to, and that I coached and guided to this point of adulthood, about that goal, the good job at last, and him not liking it now that he is here. What a waste to have cared so much along the way, tried so hard to do the best by him so he might find joy in life and know his potential and really be himself. And then to see him accept a corporate job and not love it, gives me pause.
One of my goals with my kids has been to help them figure out who they are and to give them courage to go out into the world and be themselves. Give to the world your gifts from God and share them. Try to make the world better just by being you and by offering up your skills in whatever way feels right. So to have him land in a fancy high paying job that feels soulless seems like failure on my part.
Reading Winnie-the-Pooh every night so he could do well in the classroom, and yelling support from the sidelines so he might feel the joy of winning a game, and then witnessing him winning accolades at the awards ceremony in high school all support the idea of him getting into ‘a good school’. Which he did. And now he is out and what was the point?
The point was for him to take all that success and support and find his way to being himself. Here he is at last wanting to use his gifts to contribute to society, but finding the best place to do that is tricky. Wonder what Winnie-the-Pooh would say to that?