On my first job interview, I was asked how do I see myself 10 years from now. I remember answering it confidently, “I will be working here on a managerial position fulfilling my passion as I lead the company to greater heights”. I pictured myself earning so well that I’ll be raising my own family with a comfortable lifestyle. Flash forward today and those 10 years have already passed. This coming March, it had already been eleven years since I graduated from college. So where am I at this point in my life?
I was hired by that company but I lasted only three months because I felt that the working culture does not suit me. A few weeks later I accepted a job that is barely connected to the degree I finished but the salary was above average for an entry-level employee so why not? I did very poorly on that job and I resigned after five months. I wanted to spare myself of the embarrassment of getting fired so I quit before they could even do so. In less than a year after I graduated, I already had two short stint jobs. Things are not going the way I was hoping. Scratch that, my life is not heading to the path I wanted. I was so frustrated because back in school I was a very diligent student. I make cautious decisions because I want everything in order and fool-proof. Back-to-back failures are something I didn’t expect I would face post-graduation. Still, I marched on hoping to eventually find my place in the working world.
One day I actually found myself facing an opportunity to work for a dream company. A job that I’ve been dreaming of since I was a child. But before I could say “yes”, the person interviewing me asked if I’m okay with the starting salary. Only at that moment did I realize that I didn’t think what I will be earning. I was just too excited that I’m so close on finally landing that dream job. When I found out how much it is, my heart sank. It was too low. The interviewer was frank and told me that financial growth in that industry is slow and that only passion can help you last longer. With a heavy heart, I declined the job offer. On my way home, I kept on thinking if I made the right choice. What if that was the only window of opportunity to pursue my passion? My heart wanted to take the risk but my brain stopped me. It was simply not practical to pursue a job where I would be on the losing end financially. Passion will not pay the bills. Back in college, I was so committed to pursuing my passion but the real world will indeed find a way to challenge the way you view life.
Letting go of a lifelong dream was hard but I had to move on. When I entered my third job I swore to myself that no matter what challenge or stressful situation I face I won’t back down easily. Fortunately nearly ten years later I’m still here doing a job I’m interested in with a good enough income. But am I near where I envisioned myself ten years ago? Not even close. Now in my early 30s it does worry me that I may never reach that goal. As much as my idealism withered over time, there’s still that fire in my heart telling me to not give up. Perhaps it will take another ten years or so before I will be the person I wanted to be ten years ago but I will continue walking forward.