“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.”- Henry Ford
As children, we dream of being an astronaut, firefighter, or even President of the United States, and then we get older and realize that these are just…dreams. You may have been asked the questions “What do you want to be?” or “What career do you want?” with greater frequency the older you became. The weight of these questions is obvious, and the repetition of this inquiry can cause a lot of anxiety and rushed decisions. At the ripe age of 18, you are forced to make a decision – go to college or start working (or both).
This is a situation a lot of people find themselves in. The reality is, in this world, this economy, in your life, with your different responsibilities and obligations, your career is going to change a lot over time. Your best bet in making decisions about your degree or major, and more importantly about your career, is to first think about your interests and second remember your dreams from childhood.
Interests and motivation
Your interests will drive your motivation and dedication to a job or career. You cannot ignore what sparks a fire in your heart, what keeps you motivated, and what kind of organizations make you love coming to work. If you are not interested in the subject matter of your work, doing it day-in and day-out is going to be a burden. Over time, this burden will impact your career and will often impact your life outside of work. Your motivation – what keeps you going, what keeps you interested – can change a typical “job” into a career you love.
I have come to realize something very important about those childhood dreams, which seem to dissipate as we get older and experience life; it is that as a child, you believe in infinite POSSIBILITIES. When you are five years old, telling people that you want to be the President of the United States, you aren’t thinking of all the reasons why it could not happen. You are simply reaching for a lofty accomplishment with an idealistic trust that you have what it takes to get there. The possibilities for your future accomplishments are exciting and unlimited.
What I have seen in myself, and many of the college students I have advised over the years, is that the trust in ourselves to accomplish these goals begins to be overshadowed – overshadowed by all of the reasons why it can’t be done, or the time it will take to get there, or the distractions of life, family, or work. We lose the idealism of our five-year-old selves because life has taught us that lofty goals are unrealistic. But what is really wrong with dreaming in this way?
I’d like to remind you that this five-year-old idealist is still inside, waiting to dream big, not adding any restrictions to what you can do. My advice: let that five-year-old out once in a while and see where they lead you.
Megan describes her current work in Outreach & Recruitment: