Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For Love or Money?

April 24, 2013

I hope this post finds you all well and healthy!

Disclaimer: This post includes ideas that may be deemed old-fashioned and out dated by some. Please do not take offense ;) It's just food for thought, not fuel for debate. 

Regarding career choices, my husband and I have always advised our children to decide what they love doing, then find a way to get paid for it. This way, your work doesn't seem like work, and you'll love your job. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, lately I have been wondering if this is really sound advice. Particularly for young men. After all, they are the ones who will be supporting a wife and family someday.

A trusted friend recently brought to my attention that, as of late, it appears that more and more young men are engaged in the process of "finding themselves" .. dabbling in music, art, etc., instead of developing careers that can support themselves and a family one day. Some are content to live at home for extended periods, not working, or working minimum wage jobs, while they "get their dream off the ground." 

I am not taking a stand on either side here, I am just thinking out loud, really. Back to my friend... she suggested that it may be better for a young man to choose a career that will earn him a decent income, so he can then afford to pursue his hobby on the side, instead of trying to make the hobby, the career. That also puts him in a better position to support himself and his future family. She says, it's called work for a reason; you don't have to love it, you just have to do it. 

My husband and I are now at the half century mark... when he chose his career path all those years ago, he chose something he had already been doing, and enjoyed doing,  since he was a teenager and because of his steadfastness, hard work and diligence, he has had (and continues to) a successful run. I, on the other hand, am not as... well... what's the word?... um, I'm a bit more scattered than my husband. Yeah, that's it - wink, wink. I was not able to pursue my first career choice. I wanted to be a severe storm meteorologist. As you probably can guess, that would have required a move out of state to a place where they actually have severe storms. For several reasons, that was not an option at the time (that's ok, I have the Weather Channel now). Plan B was initiated and I chose something I thought would be fun. I feel like, why would I do it if it's not fun? Which goes back to the advice in paragraph one. It was a lot of fun... and very stressful! Partially because of my personality type and partially because it was the nature of the business.  

I think my husband's theory was, "if I work hard, it will pay off and the money will come." For me it was, "I'd rather do something fun and if the money doesn't come, at least I'll still be having fun." Polar opposites, right? I never really thought about that until this very second when I wrote it! 

Through God's blessings and the support of my husband, I was able to initiate plan C - get a college degree (I did the 8-year, 4-year degree plan). I really tried to choose a career path for the money. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't imagine spending time doing something that was the equivalent of watching paint dry. In hindsight, I know God led me into a well paying field where I could be creative, that was flexible and conducive to having a family, and where I could help people achieve their maximum potential. Oh, and it's really fun too!

Plan D, or really plan co-C, because they go together, is what I am doing right now - writing. Writing truly feeds my soul! I feel like it's what I was meant to do. It's what I can do all day long without giving a thought to eating, drinking, preparing meals (sorry family), an uncomfortable chair, a crick in the neck... whatever. Day can turn into night and, as long as it's quiet, I can continue writing. I realized I had a knack for this writing thing in College English class. I never considered being a writer, however (because the reason I was in college in the first place was to pursue plan C - hello!). Oddly enough, I started writing professionally, for the money, right out of the gate. I queried (I didn't even know that's what it was called at the time) a magazine about a sport my oldest son was involved in and, bam! I had a regular column for two years. That led to many other freelance opportunities that continue today, thank the Lord! 

I appear to have digressed a bit. The question still remains.. how should one choose a career? For love or money? It seems that my husband and I made choices from completely different frames of reference, and they both worked. However, mine may not have been possible if not for the consistent support of my super awesome and dedicated husband. Neither of us were Christians back then, so my advice now would be... prayerfully consider your choices and then do it. You have to start somewhere. That doesn't mean that's what you'll do forever, it just means, that's what you'll do for now - until God leads you down a different path.

Another wise friend told me that God already knows what our children are going to do, we just need to teach them and guide them according to His Word. 

Well this was fun!  God bless you all!

Jeanne

Be well. Live well.