“What do you do when you’re not working here?” I asked him as we stood on the beach.
“Well, I just gave my two week notice four weeks ago,” he said. My face lit up. “Oh how exciting!” I said. I don’t think he expected such a response. I explained that I’ve quit quite a few jobs in my time. My sister looked at him and said, “Yeah – she quits a job every year. But how old are you?” “Twenty-five,” he said. I knew what my sister – a married, home-owning, thirty-two year old, mother of one – was getting at. “And I can quit jobs til I’m 50,” I announced, feeling her rolling eyes on me without even looking at her face.
I wanted to ask him more questions – how he did it, how it felt, what he really wanted to do – but not under my sister’s unapproving glare. I got my chance a few days later. Turns out he liked his job, but didn’t like his hours – the overnight shift. When he started, he was told he’d be moved to the day shift. More than a year later he was told he was so good at what he was doing, they wanted to keep him right where he was – working 7PM to 7AM. He expressed his dismay, nothing was done, so he left. In a recession. Oh how I love these stories.
When I asked him what he really wanted to do, he said he should find another IT job as he figures he should work in the field he got his degree in for at least ten years so his parents don’t regret paying for his IT degree. I laughed and wanted to say, “You didn’t answer my question,” but we were interrupted and I never got back to it.
I didn’t get to say it to him, but I’ll say it to you: No, there is no law of the universe that says you must do what you got your degree in. Yes, there may be a law of your parents. But no, most likely you did not sign a contract with them saying “I will work in my field even if I’m miserable and unhappy.”
Though initially they may not see your logic, ultimately most parents want you to be happy. They may think the way you’ll be happy is working in your chosen field. But that may not be the case. It may take a little – actually, a lot – for them to get over you not wanting to “use your degree.” But really – whose life is it? When are you going to start living the life you want to live, not the one your parents want for you?
Yes, your parents may know you. But I think it’s our job as kids to show them all the other possibilities that exist for us that they never thought of. Good luck. And if you need someone to congratulate you when you quit your job, I’m here for you:)