Monday, October 19, 2009
Hungry? or just Snacky?
Listening to the radio on one of my looonnnggg drives today. On Point, a pretty good issues and interviews radio show produced by WBUR of Boston had an hour on "Jobs and the Class of 2009." It featured a panel of three recent grads discussing their not too terribly successful attempts at finding work so far. I got the distinct feeling that they weren't so much searching for gainful employment as they were rooting through the refrigerator trying to find something to eat. I noted that none of them seemed truly hungry. They were still at that sort of snacky stage where they knew they wanted something to eat, but weren't quite sure what and they seemed more than willing to stand there with the door propped open until inspiration struck. I wondered how long it would take before pretty much anything mom plopped down in front of them would be the most delicious thing ever.
Of course, this is because the question you face at 24 is very different than the question you face at 46. Early on it's about passion, joy, meaning. How can I find a job that I love? What do I really enjoy doing?
At least, that's the question if you are a middle-class recent college grad who has supportive parents with a basement room with free internet access. On the other hand, when middle aged become a more important descriptor than middle-class; when dependents become a bigger fact than dependence; when you have no financial margin and not even any margarine...the choice becomes simple, although not necessarily easier.
I found the discussion fascinating, but I kept thinking about what these kids will do in 20 years if they find themselves in a similar spot. Probably, like me, they will take a job selling appliances, while launching out on an entrepreneurial adventure just to try to forestall the foreclosure monsters and keep everyone in shoes and oatmeal a little longer. And...be grateful for the opportunity. At a certain point, fulfillment becomes more about a full belly then a full heart.
And that's OK.