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Monday, May 11, 2009

Off Broadway: Career


“This economic recession and the unsteady job market provides the perfect storm for you to chase the career of your dreams”

“If you don’t love your job, quit. The money’s not worth it.”

“You have been created to be the best at something. You are uniquely you and you can make millions of dollars being just that.”

“Never do it just for the pay check. That’s shallow and cowardly.”

“In our world today, you really can be anything you want to be”

The voices of New York are loud. These are all quotes from major periodicals or recent conversations with people in the city. I do not contend that they are incorrect or wrong. I just wonder if my age’s obsession with “career” (heightened by unemployment levels and increased debt) should be more often coupled with conversations of our character or with the quality of relationships in our lives.

In New York it is not irregular to introduce yourself by saying what you do, what part of town you do it in, and who you know that does it best. That’s how we define ourselves.

In my current position (at a doctor’s office) I had to create a welcome letter for the new facility that is opening in midtown. Each doctor was responsible to get me a 4 to 5 sentence biography. Each doctor e-mailed me a biography that was 6 to 7 sentences in length and without any personal narrative. They had so much professional career that they wanted to share in those sentences that they didn’t have room to mention their families, hobbies, or community involvement.

I asked them to add a sentence. Who cares if the letter is a little long. They cannot be defined by credentials alone.

We moved to New York City so Taryn could get her master’s degree. That was our purpose for being here. So my purpose? To be a great husband to my Ivy League student (fitting two years worth of classes into nine months) with a 30-hour-week-internship. I did my best. I hope she agrees. Do I feel like I wasted a year of professional opportunities? No. I would hope that my employer would be more interested in my passion for others and my heart for seeing their success than he would my year of making copies and getting coffee for someone in midtown.

Maybe you can be anything you want. But I hope we want to be more than our jobs.

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elnellis said...

well said!

Robin said...

You, are an amazing man; husband, and son-in-law. We're so proud and touched by your soul.

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