Archive for July, 2012

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

–          Confucius

 A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a group of young dancers from Melbourne.  While talking to one of them, I found out that what had once been a mere interest in dancing has now become a vocation in itself.  Euphoric over his recent appointment as a professional dancer and teacher, he couldn’t wait to tell me how much he enjoys what he does.  And for a second I wished to be in his shoes!!!

Here was a boy hardly out of his teens, with a long way to go before he can establish himself in his profession and in life and yet for one crazy moment I envied him; I wanted to experience his exuberant joy at being able to do something he truly loves as his profession.

How many of us get to do what our heart desires?  Do we get out of bed looking forward to the day dawning before us?  Do we have a spring in our step and lightness and joy in our hearts because we are doing what we aspire to do, what we believe we were born to do?  Do we go around elated at having made a real, positive difference to other people’s lives, because of our calling in life?

OK, in my mind’s eye I can see a smattering of hands up in the air: lucky you, and I sincerely hope you are not doing this to simply spite me haha….

On a serious note, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I say that not all of us are fortunate enough to do what our heart desires.  There is often what feels like an unbridgeable gap between our dreams and the reality we struggle with, especially when it comes to our professions.  What perhaps started as a stop-gap measure, a means of paying the bills while we find our feet in the world, has become the job that we wake up to every day. And we can’t help but feel that our dreams are receding from us, getting further away from us all the time.

What’s more, the individuality and creativity that is greatly appreciated and encouraged in us as kids is sometimes stifled by the realities of adulthood, leading us to choose professions that conform to the norms and expectations of the society we live in.

With the best of intentions, a few of us are trying to convince a friend of ours to give up his aspirations of writing poetry and find a humdrum job.  Sometimes I wonder if we are doing the right thing – here is a man who wants to live his dreams and yet we are trying to persuade him to get a day job so he would better fit into our blinkered idea of what it means to earn a livelihood and be a normal member of society.  It’s as if financial security has become paramount in our lives to the exclusion of everything else, even the integrity that we owe ourselves and our dreams.

Making choices and following one’s dreams used to be easier in countries with largely advanced economies and freedom of expression, but lately the global downturn is not doing anyone any favours.  Even here in Australia, with funding restrictions, job losses and the government’s never-ending attempts to penny-pinch, every industry is facing intense pressure. And that means all of us are feeling the tightening of belts and as a result, our dreams are often the first things to be abandoned.

It is sad to see researchers and postdoctoral fellows quitting science for example and abandoning their own aspirations, given the drying up of grants and the decrease in research jobs.  All those years and effort and sweat that they have put into completing their doctorates!!!!  Even the future generation of this country are not spared this ignominy of not being true to themselves and their real aspirations – more and more students opt to do courses that would guarantee them a job rather than what they really want to do.

I don’t know how this particular story will end and if there any happy endings round the corner.  I don’t even know if every day is taking me closer or farther away from living my dreams of doing field work for a not-for-profit organisation, but I still continue to nurture hopes in the eventuality that they might someday turn into reality.

Dreams about a dream job, eh!!!!!


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