A while back someone else on the team at work was describing how she'd got here by saying, "I knew that what I wanted to do with my life was work in analytical marketing, and _______ Inc. is one of the legends in doing that well, so I'd been looking for a chance to get a job here."
This struck me, because -- although I quite enjoy my job and find it very interesting, and haven't exactly be casual in pushing my career over the years -- I'd never say that marketing analytics is "what I want to do with my life".
Certainly, life is a lot more interesting and fulfilling (not to mention, usually, successful) if you can find an employment that you enjoy. However, it does strike me as a bit off-base to equate success in a specific job as a goal/success criteria in life.
Not that you shouldn't have job-related goals, but that even within that context, the job-related side of one's life is generally a means to an end. (This would be different, I suppose, if you had a truly vocational approach to your job, but I'm not sure that most jobs merit a vocational -- in the Catholic sense -- approach.)
Truly left to myself, I'd probably be drawn to something rather more riskily entrepreneurial than what I currently do -- or else simply reading and writing a great deal. (Or maybe both in turns.) However, since we got married job decisions seem to be primarily motivated by where we want the family to live and how much we need/want to make rather than what, in the most objective sense, I "want" to be doing.
I think at an earlier point in my life I would have found that dispiriting, feeling that career decisions should be strictly the result of "following your passion" in regards to what seems interesting. At this point, though, it seems to me that this involves substituting an artificial set of ends for one's person. In the end, our ends as persons are (in the earthly sense) matters of love, charity and creativity; and (in the heavenly sense) sanctification and salvation.
In some cases, one's occupation leads to these ends quite directly, but most of the time, I think, it is simply a means to an end. A good career provides the money to support family and the leisure to pursue creative outlets. But in this regard, one good career is very much the same as another. Over the years I've wandered from sales to marketing to web design to marketing analytics, and I wouldn't mind if opportunity sent me in yet another direction, so long as that provided good support for family, book collecting, occasional writing, etc. I'd be hesitant to take a job that didn't allow for any use of mind or skill -- but aside from that it's certainly not as if there were some great, glowing GOAL job description out there towards with I inexorably move. It almost seems a little odd to take it so personally.
Put the Shrove back in Tuesday!
4 hours ago