In my early college days, I already knew that I wanted to be in the commercial arts. In fact, I knew early on that I was going to be a creative in some capacity. In order to make steady income, many of us artists went the commercial route. Yes, this was B.C. (before computers)
After being employed and learning the trade while attending college classes, I learned that an art director could make up to at least $65k/year back in the early 1980s. So, I tried to achieve that goal but for some reason, while my work was good, the opportunity never presented itself to me for a variety of reasons, and so I settled for lower wages as just another staff artist.
At least I was always happy in the capacity of being a graphic artist and my employers were happy to have me aboard. If they were happy with my work, then I felt successful in return – happy to please, happy to bring home the bacon.
There are some people who consider their job as their career. For instance, my career right now is TNS. Back in the 90s my career was Fel-Pro. There are others who consider their field as their career – such as nursing. You can be a nurse anywhere. However, if you are a nurse at a given hospital, you can consider making your career at that hospital. It all depends on your point of view. Ultimately, you decide how you want to look at it.
In a recent article in the Sunday Wall Street Journal, writer, Dennis Nishi wrote an article entitled, “What Does ‘Success’ Mean, Anyway?” In it Nishi mentions that many employees who are dissatisfied with their career choices are not entirely to blame. Their ideas about success are not their own. Nirshi writes, “It happens early and often subconsciously. People are influenced by the simple reward systems learned in high school and college and by what is portrayed as success by media and in popular culture.” Nishi adds that there are strong influences by parents and their expectations to continue a family business. The result is that some people wake up years later dissatisfied with their career choices.
You can change your career any time you want to provided you have the time to expend to go to school and if not school, you still have to find the time to learn of or start something new. It’s scary too! Many of us become complacent and don’t want to run the risk of recreating themselves – especially in a downtrodden economy where all we hear and see in the news media is how unemployment is up. However, in my view, the alternative is to recoil in your current role and let your passions pass you by.
Whatever it takes, find your passion in something you love to do and make it happen. Step by step, little by little. I’m glad that I choose to be a graphic designer even if a lot of it is creating forms because I find that there is creativity and a little math too that challenges me on a daily basis. I have an open mind too, thank goodness and once I’ve learned something new and mastered it, THEN I become passionate about it.
If you are a young college student not knowing exactly what career path you want to go and despite all the interests tests you take, you’re still confused, I say go for what makes money for now. You may not know what your passion is until you’re actually working in that capacity, and that can come a little later in life. I believe passion doesn’t come until you learn what it is. It doesn’t happen until you go through some heartache and losses first. Now the drama and life lessons are building until you hit that crescendo! Now, you can declare work as YOUR passion because you put so much of your own blood, sweat and tears into it.