By Eric

I started a new job this week. A job that is the furthest possible thing from a career. A job that isn’t even a step towards a career. A job that is the epitome of temporary. A job that is just a job.

The reality is that for most people a job is just a job. It’s rare that you stumble across the person who legitimately loves what they do. Some people like what they do, some people hate what they do, and some just do what they do.

As a 23-year-old, over-analyzing my job history is a tad ridiculous. I don’t have much experience, and what experience I do have amounts to absolutely nothing I would ever consider as a career. (Especially the four summers I spent, for all intents and purposes, as a garbage man.)

Trying to decipher what exactly having a “career” means, is the hardest thing for me. It’s something that gets wrapped up in my mind as an entire lifestyle: Job. Wife. Kids. Picket fence. Dog. Bills. Grocery shopping. Little League. Dance recitals. Neighbors. You know, the whole “real world” shebang.

Maybe it’s because I’m not mentally prepared for anything on that list (my last trip to the grocery store resulted in me returning with mayonnaise, green tea, and Scooby Doo Macaroni and Cheese) that I can’t stand the thought of a career right now. Or, maybe I’m being unfair to the entire notion of employment.

If someone were to say to me, “wait, aren’t you just avoiding responsibilities?” the short answer would be, “yes.”

The long answer, however, goes much deeper than that. I’m not irresponsible. In fact, to be frank, I am one of the more responsible people I know. I’m quite confident that I could do most jobs (within reason) and do them well. I’m also quite confident that I would be completely miserable doing those jobs.

When I graduated from college and began searching for work, I half-heartedly sifted through full- time entry level positions. When I stumbled upon a temporary internship that gave no allusion of leading to a long-term job commitment, I couldn’t have been happier. Whereas most people approach an internship as a potential means for future employment with a company, I approached it as a temporary resume builder – which is exactly what I wanted.

Upon moving on from that job, I began searching primarily for temporary work. With the holidays coming up, everyone is looking for extra work during the busy shopping months. Again, I took a temporary position – one that will last through December (although, less for resume-building this time).

It’s easy to look at what I am doing as a fear of commitment, but that isn’t what it is. I’m not afraid to commit. Am I afraid of what is going to happen next? Of course. But I’m not afraid of commitment.

The fact is, I don’t know what I want out of life yet, and as I watch some of my peers pretend to know what they want, I become even more aware of this fact. As I watch people around me get engaged, get a “real” job, and begin planning the rest of their lives, I wonder how they can possibly be so sure of what they are doing. The reality is that they probably aren’t. They’re probably just as lost as I am.

I don’t legitimately know what my goals are yet. I have ideas. I have twinges of desire for a certain life, but I don’t really know what I want.

Maybe I’m scared. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m making the wrong choices. But I don’t have to be confident in what I am doing, to be confident in knowing that I will figure it out.

Odds are, someday I will have a wife and kids. Someday I will have responsibilities that are bigger and more important than me. And if and when that day arrives, I know my choices will be different, because my choices won’t involve “me,” it will involve “us.”

Right now, it’s just me. I’m my responsibility. So for now, I have just one goal: figuring out what my goals are.