By Jessie Stracener
What do the following have in common?
Birthday Ccown. Microbiology lab assistant. Babysitter. Tutor. Day camp counselor. Earth Science lab helper. Nursery worker. Teacher. Office manager. Seamstress. Play director. Children’s minister.
Nothing, except they are all jobs that I have had at one point in my life, sometimes several of them at once. It’s becoming more and more normal in today’s economy to see young people diversifying themselves into several different jobs just to make ends meet. This is so amazing to me, because it proves that none of us have to choose just one path. We can and should feel free to diversify, and yet some people still think job diversification means you haven’t quite figured the whole career thing out yet.
You see, the generations of adults before us had a completely different outlook on careers. My father was a mason. He was just one thing. He did that his whole life and then he retired. His father before him was a carpenter, and it was a part of his identity. Our parents and grandparents were teachers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, secretaries, and a whole myriad of other things, but they trained for that position and then stayed in it their whole lives. Career stability was totally different. People were able to make ends meet and even flourish that way, and I’m afraid that is less and less of the case today.
There are so many people looking for the same types of jobs these days. They all went to college. They all have a degree and student loans to go with it. They all are adequately skilled in their field, so why aren’t they getting the job? I think that it boils down to there aren’t enough jobs in fields other than science and mathematics and so the hiring pool is huge. How do you make yourself stand out? Gain new skills! And put them on your resume.
I know a physicist who has a bachelor’s and a master’s in physics, but what makes her stand out is not the fact that she is a woman in what is still primarily a man’s world, but that she put all of her skills on her resume, not just those necessary for the job she was applying for. She is a smart and talented physicist who also happens to work weekends as a balloon twister and birthday clown. She did not want to be just one thing and so she embraced her other talents and made herself more appealing – and unique – to a hiring board.
We are living in a time in which we have the opportunity and the means to be and do anything we want. The only limits upon us are the ones we place there. Is there some skill you have always wanted to learn? Go! Learn it! You never know when it will come in handy. Don’t pass up a job opportunity because it isn’t what you originally saw yourself doing. We rarely know what we want to do until we are already doing it. The amazing thing about being young and living in this generation is that if we take a job that is totally not right for us, we can find another one. Don’t look at new opportunities as a waste of time but rather a learning adventure. Are you doing what you love right now? If you aren’t then find a way to make it happen.
Have you had a job that you didn’t expect to like turn out to be just what you needed?
I am a happily married 24-year-old woman living in the heart of the south. By day I work primarily with children or doing some sort of clerical work. I’m an ace with excel spreadsheets and bandaging “boo boos”. I’ve had nearly every job you could think of and I have enjoyed most of them, from working at a museum, library, Microbiology lab, and a Music studio to being a birthday clown, a tutor, and pretty much anything else you can think of. I love to sew, cross stitch, embroider, and work with beads and wire to make awesome trees. I will try crafting anything at least once. I also love to read. I will read nearly anything. I also like to cook when I have the time.