July 21, 2009

Lies. All Lies.

From the time I was in preschool until I graduated high school every adult in my life told me I could do anything I wanted in my life, I could be anything I tried to be, I could have any career I loved. All I had to do was get a degree.

Now it sounds like a get rich quick scheme.

The truth of the matter is a bachelor's degree doesn't mean squat anymore. The bachelor's degree is the new associate's degree- a little something to make you feel like your time in college meant something. A bachelor's degree lives up to its name: the preliminary certificate you get before you start your adult life, before you get a master's or doctorate, the jumping off point to the serious stuff. Women used to get bachelor's degrees just to attract an man who was looking for an educated woman so she could stop working and raise his kids.

And you know what? With the economy as shitty as it is I can see why women might still do that. Don't like your job? Marry your boyfriend and start popping out babies. Not finding something satisfying in your field? Marry someone with a well paying job and work on your post-baby body.

Then there was the "there's money in what you love, no matter what that is" lie. They told me about the man who moved to Maui and started a business teaching people and their dogs to surf. Fantastic, but he had to have some money in order to actually move to Maui and start the business. He had to know about starting a business in the first place.

My last job was originally supposed to be temporary- redo the training program in a year and move on. My current job is temporary- drive for the summer while there's work to be had. My next job? In this economy I don't see the trend moving towards permanence anytime soon. The Mad Men days of growing 30 years with one company are dead and buried.

It also doesn't help me that I don't have a clear idea of what I want to do: do I be practical and stay my writing course and hope it works out in the end or do I stray and try going for my first dream? I'd love to be a magazine editor. I also want to build a sanctuary for elephants. Maybe I should marry rich after all...

1 comment:

  1. HI, LM
    OK, since I am about a million years older than you, I will use the self-proclaimed benefits of such age differential, to offer advice. No, I did not equate age with wisdom, merely with prerogative (which, as we both know, is not perusable).
    First of all, as one who took 14 years (and two hundred and thirty semester hours) to achieve my Master's degree, and then spent another eight years before settling in on my chosen career (which I loved but would have hated at age 21 - there was, perhaps a bit of wisdom linked to that particular passage of time), I am here to tell you that there is no career schedule you are required to follow (that was quite a sentence - I wonder what it would like like, properly diagramed?). Since you seem to have escaped any immediate pressure from your parents, evidence indicates you are a secure and centered young woman as far as peer pressure is concerned, and you have a great plan with your boyfriend - tell me, my friend, just what is the rush? No, I take that back, tell YOURSELF the answer.
    Judging by your writing, you are a solid and grounded person, who is very capable of making good decisions and and living a real life without worrying about the trappings of public acceptance and doing "The Right Thing." Why not rely on that deep well of wisdom, and assume that when the right opportunity arises, you will know it. it's called intuition, and it is a wonderful thing.
    A basic premise of my writings in my blog, is that intuitive insight is a critical factor in developing and growing as an artist.
    And just as an aside, one of the advantages of writing, is that you can do it and also make a living putting around in your zoo cart. I was a docent at ZooAtlanta for several years, and it is an absolutely delightful way of spending time. It may not be The San Diego Zoo (which I have visited) but it ain't all bad.
    OK, I'll stop the lecturing. Happy hunting, Bob