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May 23, 2011

What’s your ambition in life?

I had dinner with a colleague last week and he asked what my goals in life are. I told him that right now I just want to get to a place of being emotionally healthy, and he said that I remind him of his wife [clarifying point: he is a consultant based out of Alaska, so no, it’s not totally shady that he and I were having dinner without his wife, since she’s in Anchorage] because we both have modest ambitions.

Do you think it’s bad that my biggest goals right now aren’t career based? That I don’t have a set path that I want my career to follow? To be perfectly honest, at the moment I don’t even have a prefered industry that I’d like to work in. In a city like DC, which puts so much emphasis on the job, and where people choose to define themselves by what they do, Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 (and usually plenty of extra hours outside their weekly 40), it’s a little terrifying – or at least a lot counter-cultural, and therefore often-questioned-by-everyone and therefore unnerving.

Why are we as a nation so driven by our jobs? Isn’t there more to fulfillment?

This is the second article I’ve read this year that I’ve read concerning Americans failing to use their vacation time – one of the individuals quoted in it (a German) indicates that for his countrymen, the focus is on family and friends, rather than just making money; Americans seem to just be in it for the money.

I don’t want to live my life this way. I appreciate being able to pay my bills, live in a safe and comfortable home, and not worry about money – but I feel that there’s a tipping point. Once you get past worrying you’ll make it to comfortable, your desired level of comfort seems to shift, so that you’re always left wanting more, always left worrying that what you have won’t be enough. I don’t want to live this way. The neverending fight to “get ahead” (ahead of what, exactly?) seems to define the American ideal of “ambition.”

Why is being content with the job that it took me 7 months to find considered a failure, not good enough, lacking ambition?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Charis permalink
    May 28, 2011 11:17 am

    hey hun, how u going this week? havent seen an update in a few days but no pressure. Just checkin on ya! take care xx

  2. Vivo4Vida permalink
    June 6, 2011 1:30 am

    Well, I certainly don’t think you’re a failure for liking where you’re at career-wise; it’s not the current focus, anyway. If your job is fulfilling or else allows you to do what does fulfill you, and you can pay all of your bills with enough extra to meet your needs and some modest desires, then F everyone else and their impossible dreams.

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