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Life / Personal

“Go get a real job.”

“Go get a real job.”

“Stop wasting time and go work for an insurance company or some other desk job. Everyone in your generation is so goddamn lazy and entitled!”

I will never forget these words, mainly because my stepmom yelled them through a door I’d slammed shut moments before.

This was during a pivotal time in my life: I had just graduated and was forced to move back in with my parents — sound familiar? After months of struggle and frustration, I was smack dab in the middle of the same heated argument:

Why couldn’t I suck it up and go get a real job?

Honestly, it was a really good question. I’ve always wondered why I was never able to commit to a full-time job. Was I really that lazy and entitled? Did I lack the discipline to “suck it up” and eat shit like so many others in the generation before me and before them?

Possibly.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve always struggled with discipline (I’m sure many of you can relate).

Growing up, I couldn’t commit to any one particular activity. Like a lot of kids my age, I had the privilege to fumble through activities like baseball, soccer, tennis, Taekwondo, trumpet, piano, choir, drama, art, and countless other lessons I eventually abandoned.

Most people would probably agree drifting from one interest to the next tends to be a common trend among kids. After all, that’s how they develop interests early on. There’s no argument here.

What I find interesting is when this restlessness finds its way into adulthood, mainly because I still feel this way today, and I’m sure many other people my age do too.

In order to see this trend first hand, all you have to do is look at a few resumés from people our age. You’ll most likely see a few months here, a few months there, a job search hopscotch that our parents and their parents attribute to A.D.D. and entitlement. On occasion, you might even find someone who is disciplined enough to have worked somewhere for a whole year.

Like I said, that’s not me. If I don’t have enough autonomy to make my own decisions or if I’m not able to see the direct impact of my work, I usually jump ship.

Now that I think about it, this is probably why I have worked for myself ever since I graduated college.

Don’t get me wrong; I love working with other people. In fact, I thrive when I get the chance to work with others who share my motivation and who have complementary skills. My only issue is this seldom happens successfully in a corporate setting.

The few times I’ve worked within these environments, collaboration is usually stifled. Everyone tends to work in silos, living in their own cubicle world, and no one is allowed to rock the boat, especially if they are the new guy or girl in town.

In my world, being a boat-rocker is a good thing. It forces clients to question conventional standards and challenges others to reevaluate whether their current task is important or not. If you ask me, these are the actions that move the overall needle forward.

For these reasons, and many others, I don’t see myself working full-time.

Let me rephrase that: I don’t see myself working full-time for someone else. I don’t typically like putting my fate in the hands of others. What I will do is put in 40 hours a week (at least) for work that I believe in, because at the end of the day, that’s all any of us want.

I stress this point with friends, family, students, professionals, pretty much anyone who will listen. If you have the chance to work full-time for a company that stands for what you stand for while also providing a safe, inclusive environment, by all means, take that job. You’d be crazy not to.

What I will say is after looking around and surveying the scene, if you still don’t find that opportunity, it may be a sign—a sign to stop looking and start creating that opportunity for yourself. With today’s tools and resources, this isn’t as daunting as it used to be.

Regardless of where we start, we all have the ability to create our own “real” job. A job that not only pays the bills, but also allows us to put our best foot forward every single day. This is the kind of job my stepmom wanted for me; she just didn’t know that I could create it on my own.

Who knows? If I had listened to her, I might still be working for that insurance company.

What are you looking for in your job? Have you found it? If not, have you considered alternative options to get you where you want to be?

This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Or, if you’d like to hear some overall thoughts on work from Christians at THRED, you can find those over here.

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William is a freelance designer, writer, and founder of Collide, a company that is creating a better, deeper way to connect with others over shared ideas and skills. He is passionate about turning ideas into action and helping others do the same. When not working, William leads a double life as a beatboxer in One Too Many, St. Louis' premiere all-male a cappella group.

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