Is There Really, “The One?”
February is the month of love, and some students might be searching for “The One” to enjoy life happily ever after with or even “The One” career path to spend the rest of our lives in. The pressure to choose the perfect, match-made-in-heaven job is at full force and can leave students frantically searching for their calling.
But is there even “The One”?
One of the biggest fears amongst college students is that they pursue the wrong career path and fail to find the level of fulfillment and purpose in their work that they desire. Why is it that we put so much pressure on our first job to define the rest of our career trajectories? No one asks about the second or third job at family gatherings, only the first!
Debunking Myths About the Career Journey
Myth 1 - There is one perfect job for me.
Fact - According to a study, only about 14 percent of the workforce believes that they have a great job they would not like to change. There are many factors that constitute a “perfect” job — you might find your standards/values changing as you gain experience. The perfect job today, may not be the perfect job tomorrow.
Myth 2 - I will have only one career in my lifetime.
Fact - The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that nonlinear job-hopping was no longer something reserved for entry-level workers. Forty-nine percent of Americans are actively seeking a new career path, and 91 percent of millennials expect to change jobs every three years. The modern career trajectory isn’t necessarily a climb to a destination, but rather a continuum.
Myth 3 - My major is going to lead to my career.
Fact - While some fields might place an emphasis on skills related to a certain major, many companies recruit based on experience and skills. In fact, two in five Americans don’t have careers that line up exactly with their undergraduate degrees.
Let’s take a look at the unexpected and nonlinear career paths of some successful figures in our world today:
Jeff Bezos - Pursued computer science on Wall Street and took on top roles at various financial firms before transitioning to the world of e-commerce and launching Amazon at 31
Julia Child - Worked in advertising, media, and secret intelligence before writing her first cookbook when she was 50, launching her career as a celebrity chef in 1961
Vera Wang - Professional figure skater and journalist before entering the fashion industry at age 40 (now one of the world's premier women's designers)
Jonah Peretti - Taught middle-schoolers how to use Microsoft Office as a computer science teacher before launching Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post in his 30s
Giorgio Armani - Studied medicine in Milan and joined the Italian army as a medic, worked as a window dresser after discharging, then founded Armani in his 40s
Check out this article to read more on what unexpected things famous people did with their degrees.
Reach Within Home!
Why don’t you take this opportunity to ask your own Professors about their career journeys? Sometimes your Professors have wild and unexpected stories about calling and career. Consider setting up office hours with one of them and start building a relationship!
Biola’s alumni have inspiring stories about their career paths as well! Check out BiolaHub to connect with Alum within your field of interest, or check out the Informational Interview Guide to navigate reaching out.
Mike Ahn — You may have seen him at chapel — Mike is the Assistant Dean of Chapels & Worship, working to serve students by motivating them to identify their callings from the Lord.
Paul Sohn — Paul is the Director of Strategic Roadmap Initiative at the Crowell School of Business. He is a leadership coach, best-selling author and speaker and has been named one of the “Top 33 under 33 Christian Millennials to Follow” by Christianity Today. Paul strives to help students connect their calling to their careers.
Arianna Molloy — Arianna Molloy is an associate professor in the Communication Studies Department at Biola University. Her research focus is on communication about meaningful work and work as a calling (involving factors that impact motivation, sustained loyalty and satisfaction, as well as significant costs such as burnout). Check out this resource guide she co-wrote about calling!
There Isn’t Just “The One”
Higher education counselor Caris Thetford sums it up perfectly: “This idea of right and wrong in your career path is a fallacy. There are only choices, and with every choice comes an opportunity. Whatever decision you have to make, the most important thing is that you make the most of it, rather than focusing on making the ‘right’ decision.”
The only thing we have the power to control is what’s in front of us. Reaching the next step doesn’t make all the stars align! You don’t have to find “The One” career to love forever, in fact you most likely won’t. Life is not linear — so why should your career be?
For more resources on calling, be sure to check out the Career and Calling Roadmap.