October 27, 2010 | File under: Advice and Lessons • On the Job
Sometimes, a career can actually diminish one’s mental capacity. It happened to me. Before I became a lawyer, I was a fairly creative person. I immersed myself in activities that required a good deal of concentration, patience and free thought. I read deep philosophical books, I knitted an intricate stuffed elephant toy for my niece, I baked bread by hand, and I even experimented with watercolors despite my lack of natural artistic talent. And then, I started my job and my after-work and weekend activities took on a decidedly more mindless quality. I just didn’t have it in me to think very hard after thinking so hard all week long, and my creativity levels and desire for self-improvement plummeted.
October 22, 2010 | File under: Advice and Lessons • On the Job
One thing all my years of schooling never prepared me for was the massive amount of sitting that would be required by my entry into professional life. Eight hours or more a day, confined to a desk in front of a computer, total idleness. It’s just one of those details of a career that evades notice until you find yourself doing it all. day. long.
October 18, 2010 | File under: Advice and Lessons • Materialism • Society and Pressures • Well-being
Career perceptions are largely a function of one’s environment. The setting in which a child is raised profoundly shapes their understanding of how the world “works” and causes them to view certain lifestyles or values as inherently good or bad. Or, if certain characteristics are not distinguished as either good or bad, they are accepted as just the way that something “is” in any particular environment. These influences inevitably factor into how people perceive careers as enablers that will help them to achieve the lifestyle to which they aspire. In this way, one is careared from an early age to view certain careers as desirable for the monetary benefits they offer, not necessarily for the day-to-day tasks involved in the performance of such jobs.
October 11, 2010 | File under: Advice and Lessons • Schooling
It’s easy to get an education for a traditional career. Want to be a lawyer? Three years of law school is all it takes. Recognizable job titles correspond to particular courses of study and often lead to employment with well-known institutions under a common job description —- engineer, teacher, etc. The educational system favors careers that can be neatly packed into a box and summarized in college catalogs. But if you want to forge a path of your own in a non-traditional or entrepreneurial line of work, it’s not easy to find guidance in school. School teaches you to stay inside the box.
October 11, 2010 | File under: Advice and Lessons • On the Job • Society and Pressures • Well-being
Growing up, I was always a bit uncomfortable in my own skin. I was constantly trying to live up to some social ideal, simultaneously pursuing notions of intelligence, beauty and overall worth that I believed would make me valued and special in society’s eyes. I thought acceptance from sources outside of myself would fuel my happiness, oblivious at the time that real happiness would remain elusive unless it came from myself, not from other’s affirmations of my embodiment of any ideal projected by society.
Careared.com is a project that has taken shape in my mind over the past several years —- years that I spent feeling trapped in a profession that I had worked towards my entire life. I was a lawyer for six years and the reality of that career was nothing like the ideal I was convinced would await me after I completed all the hard work and schooling necessary to enter the field. I felt trapped, and a little duped by the expectations I had developed in childhood and adolescence that were fueled by pressures exerted upon me as a student showing great “potential.” I learned the hard way that money and prestige are no measures of success or happiness in life.
As I navigated my way out of my career trap, hindsight illuminated many of the influences prominent in my life that had led me down the path I had taken. I realized most of those influences were not unique to my experience. Rather, they were common social pressures felt by many other young people in a similar position as me. If only I had been more aware of the pressures that mislead me and had approached my journey towards a career with the appropriate amount of skepticism, I thought, I would not have found myself in such a frustrating position. While it was too late for a complete “do-over” on my part, I was struck by the idea of writing about my experience, and more specifically about the complicated social influences that led me to being careared, in hopes that sharing my thoughts would either help others avoid becoming trapped like I did, or help similarly careared individuals cope with and resolve their situation. So, I quit my job and set out on my mission.
Careared will include both original articles from me and links to relevant new sources. From time to time, I will also post short blog entries dealing with logistical matters. I’m hoping Careared will also serve as a forum to discuss the topics it addresses. I encourage reader comments and welcome your emails providing input on the site generally as well as requests for future articles. I intend to update the site several times a week with new articles as well as linked list entries.
Thank you for visiting, and I look forward to sharing Careared with you!