P.S. to Elizabeth’s Career Choice

Although yesterday’s post might seem finished, it’s not. I was interrupted five or six times while trying to get my thoughts together, and I finally just thought “good enough” and posted it. The essence, however, of the message seems to be missing, so I’m going to try to correct that in the next few minutes. I say “try” because it’s the end of the semester, and I’ve had a lot of visitors…and inquiries about grades.

According to the scriptures, we each have gifts and we are to cultivate and use those gifts in a way that would best serve God and our fellow human beings. When I look around, I’m amazed at the variety of talents and abilities that people have, and sometimes I’m a little saddened too. Why? Either because people don’t realize how gifted they are, or they do realize it but cannot or will not do what it takes to get into a career that utilizes those abilities.

While it’s true that working is a way of making a living, it can easily become a way of making a life. Everything from the people you associate with, how you spend your time, what you think about, and what you actually do or produce mold and make you into the person you are becoming. Somebody Famous (Thoreau maybe?) once said that most people live lives of quiet desperation, and if that’s true, I think one reason could be that they’re in the wrong career.

When Elizabeth was a teenager and then later a college student, she worked at a variety of jobs including stints at an ice cream and sandwich shop, an eye doctor’s office, and even a day care facility. At one time she thought being a detective might be exciting, and then later she and a friend considered opening a gift shop. However, none of those fields are right for her. As a person who loves to learn and share ideas with others, teaching is perfect for her. Add the fact that she relates well to youngsters, and the profession seems ideal. And did I mention the pace of the academic calendar? She likes that too. Not too many careers allow two weeks off at Christmas, a week during the spring, and summers (if you can afford it).

I’m not exaggerating when I say that EVERYDAY I talk with someone who is unhappy with his or her job. Oh, the person might like the $$$ or the people she works with, but the work itself is not a good match for her. When I suggest changing careers even if it means additional training, most people sort of shrug. “It’s a living,” they say. It’s more than a living; it’s a life, and no one can afford to let fear, ignorance, other people, or lack of motivation hold her back.

I earnestly feel that we’re obligated to find out what our unique gifts are and then use them to improve the lives of others. In case you think I’m referring to only paid vocations, I’m not. Stay-at-home mothers are preparing children for their lives in a way that no one else can. Volunteers provide services to thousands of people. Money isn’t the issue; living your life in accordance with His plan is.

Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

6 thoughts on “P.S. to Elizabeth’s Career Choice”

  1. That is so beautiful. I was talking about this very thing with my husband this morning. I think about the different things I have learned as a Mother. I do not have a paid position. But I am learning so much from different things that I do. I am recently reading a book about learning disabilities. I have found that I want to help others in that area. I feel like if I am patient I can learn what I need to do to help others in the future. Thanks.

  2. No use telling you about a time for everything in Ecclesiastes since you already know that! However, I do like your use of “if I am patient.” In the meantime, what’s more important than what you’re doing? I remember reading this great article many years ago about a woman whose husband was a successful dentist…more like an oral surgeon, I guess. Anyway, people were always telling her how fantastic her husband was, and then one day she realized that what she was doing was actually MORE important she was preparing souls for eternity. I loved reading that.

  3. I completely agree with you. This has been the source of many deep conversations with Dh. Both of us had Dad’s who weren’t fully satisified with their professions. They’d come home frustrated and tired rather than energized, satisified, and tired (lol). I remember feeling really guilty that my dad had to do stuff all day that he didn’t really like all that much so that I could have a comfortable existence.

    I don’t want our kids (or me,) to feel that way. I want my husband to feel like his work is his life mission, it’s something he’s been called to do, something that motivates and uplifts him. I want him to not want to come home at the end of the day, but then come home and be happy to see us and put work aside. 🙂

    I’ve told him that he is, under no conditions, allowed to complain about his job being unfulfilling and tiresome. He can either do something about it, or suffer silently until he decides to do something about it. (sorry. I’m mean, aren’t I? But I’m not one who thinks that one should settle. I never have been. Settling is just such a tragedy, and an uncessesary one.)

  4. Do you ever eat Dove candy? I’m asking because when you open each little piece, there’s a short saying inside of thewrapper, and one of my favorites is “Never settle.” I think the reason I like it so much is because I read it at a time when I needed a reminder.

    So many people do settle, and I wonder if it’s because they think they have no other choices or if they just don’t have the resources to change their lives or what. I hear “Yes, but” a lot. Someone will say that he or she would love to be a pilot, butcher, a computer programmer, or whatever, and when we talk about job requirements or credentials or where they might have to live to have that particular job, they say something like, “Yes, but then I’d have to leave my family.” “Yes, but then my husband would divorce me.” Yes, but I’m so old.” You know what I mean. You’ve heard some of the same lines.

  5. I’ve heard ’em… and I guess I can’t judge. but it’s not what I want for my life, or for my loved ones. I’d rather live in a motor home with a husband happy with his job than live in a five-bedroom house and have him come home miserable every night 🙂

  6. Me too! This morning I got up extra early so that I could have some quiet time, and I read a short little article based on Jeremiah 10:23-24, a couple of verses I had never paid much attention to. The woman who wrote the article wrote about her career progression that seemed a little haphazard at the time, but when she looked back at it, she could tell that all through the years, God was shaping her, honing her skills, and preparing her for her various positions.

    By the way, you mentioned your husband, but I think God has a plan for you too…in the writing department. You just have to keep at it and figure out exactly how He wants you to use your gifts.

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