Tuesday, January 16, 2007

When I grow up

When I was a kid, I remember hearing things about how to become something:

"Artists carry a sketch pad with them wherever they go so they can draw any time they're inspired. If you want to be an artist, you should have a sketch pad."

"If you want to be a musician, you have to practice your instrument every day."

"Good scientists keep current by browsing the latest journal articles."

(I carried a sketch pad for about a week before I realized that I would never be inspired to draw anything, and playing music went out the window as soon as I heard that I'd have to practice constantly. I'm still debating whether the last one is actually true.)

In other words, it used to be, if you want to be something, you have to make yourself fit the requirements. But shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't it be, "I enjoy practicing the piano. Maybe I should be a concert pianist," or, "I really like math. I think I'll check out accounting or engineering." I suppose the problem with this approach is that there just aren't enough jobs for people who like playing Warcraft or watching TV.

But now that I feel like I am who I am and that's not going to change significantly, I'd prefer to pick a job that exploits my current abilities, rather than expects me to become something I'm not. I've tried reading the journals. Most of those articles aren't interesting to me, because they're not about my area of research, and they aren't immediately applicable to anyone's life. Instead of pretending I'm interested in that, shouldn't I focus on the things that actually interest me?

I guess my question is at what point in life do you stop trying to be something, and start trying to find out what you are?

1 comment:

  1. thats what this foundation is all about. figuring out what you're natively good at and then finding a job that uses those skills. http://www.jocrf.org/