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May 05

It’s that time of year

I’m doing a fourth year subject in an undergraduate class this year and I’m hearing a lot of clerkship application “buzz” which I thankfully missed last year. As with all final year students, I also come into contact with a lot of people that are beginning to take the next step into the world of work and I’m always fascinated by the different perspectives people have about it, and consequently, life in general. The unfortunate fact is that many people’s lives are defined by their working life – which is not all that surprising if you spend the best parts of the weekdays stuck in an office.

Anyway, I came across this post which has another perspective. The comments attached to that post are also interesting. There is a bit of talk about how compatible corporate law work is with Christianity. A while ago I discovered this article written by a partner at Clayton Utz titled “A Christian Reflection on Commercial Law Firm Practice“. It’s good reading.

I’ve had two peer groups now from different backgrounds who’ve had to go through the whole career choosing thing. I could write pages of stuff about choosing a career, which is similar to a discussion about choosing the right path after high school, but I’ll confine myself to saying that my general philosophy is that whatever you do – you have to actively enjoy what you are doing. Talking about what you do in your job, or what you study, with some measure of passion to others is a good indication of that. A job doesn’t have to involve glory or prestige or be world changing or whatever, for you to enjoy it. Even when an industry is “meant” to be glamourous, but in fact is not, doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed. It just means you should know what you are really getting into first, before doing it.

My dad always said to me that whatever I did, I had to be able to wake up in 20 years and still like what I was doing. Our generation is luckier in that the days of “one job for life” are long gone, and we are more mobile (both geographically and industrially) in terms of what we do. Keeping an open mind regarding opportunities, taking on board advice from friends and others, but not succumbing to peer or societal pressure if you really have your heart set on something is important. I really admire people who are able to do this. One of my best friends is going to do some missionary work in the Sudan next month. It’s something he’s always wanted to do, and despite some very intense family pressure against it, and at a not insignificant personal cost, he’s doing it.

It really is all a personal choice, one centered around personal values, which are different for everyone. Some people derive more satisfaction from cash than others, some people value free time more. Neither is inherently better than the other.

I tutor one person who today was telling me about their marks – they had done much better in a law mid-session than in an accounting mid-session. Turns out that they hate accounting, but of course, their parents wouldn’t have any of it and just told them to “work harder”. Changing courses or majors is a good option for someone in this situation, but parental pressure is considerable when parents think they know best and reckon that a commerce degree is “good grounding for getting a job in business”, despite a zero enjoyment level.

At this age I gues if you’re in something and you discover you don’t like it and in reality you don’t really need to do it, don’t tread water for too long. Thinking that if you rough it out for 5-6 years so you can get “comfortable” and then find something better is, as Warren Buffet said, like saving up sex for old age.

  7:56pm (GMT +10.00)  •  Life  •   •  Tweet This  •  Comments (1)