“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question has been the proverbial bane of my existence for 16 years now. As a child, I thought that the elusive answer would magically reveal itself as I aged. In truth, however, finding it has only gotten more difficult with time.
When children were unsure about how to answer the question in elementary school, parents and teachers would simply say, “follow your dreams.” Why is it, then, that “pick a job that pays well” is the advice most adults have now? Such a contradiction leaves many students confused and disheartened.
I have seen too many parents force their college students into certain majors just because their paychecks could be relatively high. Consequently, I have seen too many students change from these high-paying majors that their parents forced upon them to majors they actually care about.
I understand that in a bad economy, it is natural for adults to encourage teenagers to enter certain fields, like math and science, that are expanding and hiring. After all, according to CNNMoney.com, all of the top ten best jobs in fast-growth fields (some of which include software developer and civil engineer) are based in those two subjects.
But, what about the individuals for whom math and science do not come naturally? Or, more importantly, what about the individuals who are not passionate about math or science? Why should they be encouraged to spend their lives doing something that does not provide fulfillment and happiness?
It sickens me to know that, because of a downtrodden economy, following one’s dreams is only acceptable if the end result is an adequate income. Pursuing a career in any other less lucrative field is considered foolish.
If all students were forced to go down a career path solely because they knew it was financially sound, where would all of the artists come from? How about teachers? Everyone has different talents and, instead of trying to box all students into the same category, society should be encouraging each individual’s own growth.
Unless I am completely wrong about the philosophy of adults. If their one true goal is that their children achieve financial stability, that is fine. But society then needs to stop showing children a facade of the real world by telling them to do what they love if, in most cases, they will be criticized for making such a decision.
Regardless, doing a job for which one has no passion is like living an empty life. When I look back at my life in 50 years, I would rather say that I enjoyed my low-paying job than say that I made copious amounts of money in an occupation I resented.So, to everyone who seeks a profession with more focus on passion than profit, more power to you. The world needs more people who follow their dreams.