May 5, 2008

Making a Life Not a Living

Posted in Life tagged , , at 9:25 pm by Katelyn

If you’ve ever had a job that was not quite your ideal job, you know the feeling that comes with the common question, “what is it that you do?”  That slight drop in your stomach, the eyes that break contact, and the tendency to speak at a much lower frequency in hopes that the questioner will not catch your entire response.  It’s not that we don’t do our jobs well or that we despise them, it’s more that we would rather be responding with the job we have always seen ourselves doing.

It’s moments like these when I wish our society would value people’s lives rather than their positions.  I wish we could respond with what we do when the clock hits 5:00p.m. and our own lives begin.  Aren’t those post-5p.m. activities where we find the most in common with others?  Sure we can make professional contacts by professing our job title, but the true connections are made by finding a similar activity enjoyed outside of work.  Besides, my time outside of work is far more interesting because that is the time when I do my best thinking.  I brainstorm ways to learn and I think long and hard about what job would be my dream job (not all of us know!).

Instead of a project manager, I would respond with, “I am a reader, a singer, a philosopher, a blogger, a runner, an artist…”  These titles tell more of the story of my life than my job title.

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.'”


December 18, 2007

Location v. Career

Posted in Careers, Life, Music Industry tagged , , , at 3:58 pm by Katelyn

Yesterday on The Simple Dollar, Trent Hamm continued his review of What Color Is YourParachute? with chapter 8: How To Pick a New Place to Live. I think the choice between moving somewhere new for a job or moving somewhere new for the location is one that a lot of twenty-somethings face. I know that I have. Depending on your field and your preference for location, it could be a matter of choosing between your career and your happiness. For instance, in the music industry, you are very limited in your choice of locations for work. It’s New York, L.A., or Nashville, unless you luck out in finding one of the few jobs scattered in other cities across the country. What if your family, or your heart is in a smaller town or different geographic location? Do you sacrifice location for building your career? Will you be as happy with work accomplishments if there is no one around to celebrate them with? Or do you justify it by telling everyone that the sacrifice is temporary?

All of these are questions that I have struggled with at one point or another. My heart is inUS Map another part of the country, but I find that the job market is so much better in the bigger, more prestigious cities. At this point, I have sacrificed location for building my career. And don’t get me wrong, D.C. is a great place to live and I never lack for things to do. I would not be opposed to staying here, but I could enjoy even more if I had someone to share the city with. I would say that I am becoming a believer in the idea that choosing a location before choosing a job leads to happiness. Anyone can make do where they are, but I think that if you love the city you’re in, everything else will fall in to place and you will make your career happen.

Why do you live where you live? Do you think choosing location over career makes any difference in happiness or satisfaction?