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When the Best-Laid Plans Go Awry

kawaiidaigakusei at 12:00AM, May 23, 2016
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-conceptual bridge design by kawaiidaigakusei

"Tell me why all the best laid plans fall apart in your hands. And my good intentions never end, the way I meant.“ -James Blunt ”Best Laid Plans“

My desktop computer has a lot of saved files that have accumulated over the years. Every once in a while, I stumble into a folder and catch a glimpse of an assignment I completed for a class I had years ago. I might read an opinion paper that was written during an all-nighter on a topic that evoked really strong feelings. Then I stumble into a folder that contains all my major projects from my years as an interior architectural design student and I am in awe with my AutoCAD and SketchUp abilities. I think one of the more terrifying realizations of finding old work is that it was produced at a different time in my life when my hopes, dreams, and ambitions were on a completely different wavelength than in the present day.

I selected my college majors based on the subject matter that interested me the most. If anyone asked me why I did it, my young twenty-year-old self would respond, ”I am very passionate about these subjects and if I study what I love right now, I will end up in a career that instills a similar sense of passion." For every cynical and negative comment I received, I was fortunate to have very prominent adult supporters such as college professors in my network, a very generous financial aid office, and enough pride that pulled myself up by my bootstraps to work at a part-time job while I was a full-time student.

There was no real way to prepare for life after the college safety blanket was removed and my entire graduating class entered the workforce with degrees during the Financial Crisis of 2008. The scarcity of jobs changed my perspective on the importance of doing a job–any job–in exchange for a living wage. Oh, and do not get me started on the mistake of signing up for an unpaid internship (been there, done that).

I found myself in an interesting position when I moved back to my hometown where having a University degree is more rare than in a major city. Once I learned how to navigate the workforce here, more job offers started coming through and as of this moment, I now have four different jobs (in addition to the weekly newsposts and bimonthly features for Drunk Duck) and I am a candidate for a promotion at one of them. I enjoy all of my jobs, but they all follow very different career paths from the subjects I studied in school.

The reason I get scared when I run into old files from my University days is because it is a reminder of all the things that evoked a sense of passion within me. Perhaps one day in the future, I will finally have the gumption to land a job as an art historian at a museum or an AutoCAD renderer for a large architectural design firm in a major city or a designer to sketch conceptual designs for a major hotel group. In the meantime, I am happy to have an income that can support the cost of things I love to do like drawing.

comment

anonymous?

bravo1102 at 8:17PM, May 23, 2016

I have had long periods between jobs or on temporary disability. I would waste a lot more time when I am not working.

bravo1102 at 8:15PM, May 23, 2016

I've lived Murphy's law. Anything that can go wrong, has. I have learned to always be ready. And I also know that I made some very poor choices in the past and I am pretty much stuck in a low paying, dumbass job. I work to live. Work is just a time wasting structure I need to plan a life around.

usedbooks at 5:06AM, May 23, 2016

I spent $500 applying to veterinary school. Waste of time, money, and effort. Anyway, screw that noise. Even though the work I found isn't steady, it's low stress. I get to deal with happy vacationers instead of dying fluffies. (And yeah, it was accidental. I was so desperate for work after grad school, I agreed to an interview and then had to google the position because I'd never heard of it... I'm 8 years in nature/history interpretation now.) I wish I could find stability. I hate having to leave coworkers and "home" for new places all the time. Thank God for internet friends.

KimLuster at 4:44AM, May 23, 2016

As much as I gripe and complain sometimes about my job, I have to stop and realize most of the world isn't doing what they love, they're doing what is needed to make it day to day - just to survive! I wish I could make money doing what I love, but having kids (which are so incredibly expensive) changes your perspective!! Great post!!

PaulEberhardt at 2:41AM, May 23, 2016

If every plan always worked out, life wouldn't be half as exciting as it is. For some reason, I'd never seriously thought my future job would have anything much to do with my studying subject (Forestry when I first started long ago). It was more like a faint, lingering hope. I actually believed those who kept saying that university was more like a place to try out things, to get new perspectives, to find your way around while at the same time being able to do something vaguely useful so it isn't wasted. Since I'm now into teaching, I guess I was right. As a matter of fact, I still don't believe for a second that I'll just teach the subjects I studied - hardly anyone I know does - I still believe that studying is not so much about job training than about broadening your mind and stuff (as if that couldn't be achieved just as well by doing art ;) ). The one thing I abandoned for being just unsustainable is the part about doing something vaguely useful there.

Ozoneocean at 2:22AM, May 23, 2016

Live to work or work to live, that is the question :D


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