I am attending a job fair on Thursday because I am terrified whenever I think about the future.
Some people have nightmares about ghosts and scary creatures chasing them. When I dream, however, job interviews bring chills down my spine. Not vampires or werewolves.
As a Psychology major, I don’t stand out all that much. I’m not the guy who sits in the front row with the answers to the next four questions the teacher will ask. I don’t have a minor in Pre-Law, or anything.
And this honestly scares me. In the idol of my future, I see myself huddled up underneath a bridge somewhere. Other times, when I recollect myself and stave away my vivid imagination, I picture myself in a house with a roommate who is listening to Nickelback.
I would rather jump in front of a moving train than listen to Nickelback.
All this is to say that, despite my fears, I’ve found quite a bit of reassurance lately. My dad has forever called me a “counselor” and a “writer”, and I had never really fully understood what he meant by that until only recently.
If someone is a “writer”, then this means that they probably have that musty old house, with a lot of books. Their humble abode probably has good lighting. A pipe is around somewhere, and at least one of the rooms is painted in a burgundy color. Perhaps there is a fireplace.
If someone is a “counselor”, then this means that they probably have volumes upon volumes of research lining their shelves. They think in research terms, and describe things as simple as a greeting to be a ‘process of psychosocial adaptation’ and so forth.
Yet, I am neither of these things. I would love to live either one of these lives, if not both. There are many days where I want to live life in all sorts of grand ways. As a truck driver. As a fisherman. And there are other days where I want to be a chef on television, or writing sitcoms for television. It all depends on my mood, really.
I don’t spend a great deal of time talking about the recession, because I don’t read enough about the recession to feel knowledgeable enough about the details of the recession. Whenever I speak up about the recession because it hurts me to see people I know and love hurting, someone else sprouts up and turns the whole thing into a debate so that they can show off their debating skills.
I could care less about debating skills, honestly. Debating skills are nice, and clever. Occasionally, they get people voted into things. But debating skills do not keep the lights on. Debating skills do not keep food in the fridge.
Those I know who are affected by the recession repeatedly share with me how taken aback they are to be searching for a new job, because they do not know how to do a job different from the one they know.
This breaks my heart, because I find that so many of us plant our identities in the jobs that we perform. Which is understandable, many take pride in what they do.
But when that pride becomes less about a job well done and more about a person well off, the focus shifts just a little bit. Our motivations change.
I once had the opportunity to see the activist Shane Claiborne speak. One thing that he said really resonated with me, where he had to fill out his current occupation on some sort of form, and not knowing what to put, he wrote “Lover”.
Everyone, of course, laughed. But in that laughter, a little bit of Truth hit me, that didn’t fully bloom until only recently.
See, Shane does things like speak at seminars and write books, which I suppose makes him a “writer”. But he also does things like help out homeless ministries in urban areas, and so forth.
And before too long, the list of what he does is too large to fit in a little box next to the term “occupation”.
Shane took his funny story and used it as a platform to explain what his calling is. How we as Christians are all lovers of Christ and all the people who inhabit this planet. How we are lovers who happen to do all these cool things on the side. Like writing. Like speaking. Like community organizing.
And by looking at things this way, my dad’s comments made sense. In a way, I already am a “counselor”. A “writer”. Sometimes I am a “chef”, and other times a “fisherman”.
But I am only these things in moments, because I do not find my identity in these occupations. These are not things that I define my life by, but rather things that I do for a little while.
And it is by looking at things this way that the big bad boogeyman of uncertainty doesn’t seem so large and looming. My career path isn’t nearly as frightening, because I have job security. For I too, am a Lover. Of God and others.
Everything else? Those are hobbies. Things that will come and go.
Today, I am thankful for this certainty. For this peace. For knowing my true career path. What are you thankful for today?