We’ve discussed a lot of post graduate dilemmas here at Lessons, including feeling like you have an useless degree to the debate of education versus experience, we’ve even tackled fun post graduate woes like that first spring break you can’t participate in. With so many discussions on becoming, being and appreciating the world of young professionalism, one question lingers for those are knee deep in careers, working 9 to 5’s for the man and enjoying the after work happy hours (the ones that were inspiration to this blog): Have you settled?
It’s a question many ask themselves or will ask themselves as the excitement of steady income and independence quickly turn into the burden of maintaining great rapport with your often lazy yet increasingly pretentious boss in order to afford your weekly brunches and monthly subscription to Hulu Plus. It’s the grind that will ensure the inevitable midlife crisis awaiting you near your 50’s. You always wanted to start your own fashion line, but now work as an assistant for someone’s company in a completely unrelated field. Sure, baby steps. Of course, work your way in the door, but with a generation that is used to quick access and are reminded every day by savvy young entrepreneurs that it can be done now, why haven’t you made that attempt to start the motions of that dream fashion line? It’s like the underlying mission of corporate America is to suppress the ambitious goals of young people locking them down to an unfair marriage of unhappy work with the small reward of monetary stability.
Flip-side. You’re a rebel of some sorts–the artistic wanderer who cringes at the thought of a mundane 9 to 5. Sure you’ve paid your dues with higher education, did what you were told to obtain a degree, but for some reason have bigger goals than the entry-level position offered to you once you’ve graduated. You’re not opposed to corporate America but are hesitant to burden yourself with two or three years of waking up to a job you absolutely hate. You have the heart of an entrepreneur, the hustle of a single-mother, but the with the resources of your iPhone’s contact list. As you might pinch pennies for your next project, rent, or even next meal–you look at the available jobs and question: Should you settle?
The entire dynamic of settling is a complex dance of having, needing, wanting, doing whatever you need to while maintaining integrity and standards. If that sentence seemed complicated, it’s because that’s what settling is–complicated. Sometimes, reality hits us. Mom and dad’s relentless support gives a little when it comes to finances, Sallie Mae begins her inappropriate knock at your bank account’s door and you’re all of a sudden a full fledged adult. Then again, the other part of the dance is one of patience and fortitude. You know your worth, you understand your talents and are holding out for something that will fulfill you. It’s the noble side of you that won’t relinquish its dreams. It’s the slightly stubborn soul that won’t lower self standards or expectations.
I guess the true debate and questions will always remain: When should you settle? Is surviving, settling?
Everyone has their own answers for the above questions, much like everyone has their own path to their success in life. In a world where having to minimize your past wants in order to satisfy your current needs is a constant, always remember the words of Nelson Mandela:
What are your thoughts on settling?