There is such a thing as too much choice: studies have shown that people with the most choices are often the most prone to being dissatisfied with the career path they take. This is a sentiment I feel we’ve all been through, be it when thinking of what to eat for dinner, who to date, what train times are best. It’s both a blessing and a curse: the same can be said of those (slight narcissists) amongst us who believe that our potential is limitless.
We want to do something amazing - we just don’t know what it is. We want to make money, but we just don’t know what route is most cost-effective. When we feel that we are privileged enough to have a huge range of career choices, it becomes almost debilitating to decide which career to pick.
Of course, we are restricted by our studies. Of course, there are very few of us who get a job offer everywhere we applied. But, those restrictions put aside, I would argue that very few of us get out of our well-delineated, rigidly-structured institutions with a dream in mind, a vision — isn’t it what this generation is all about? Vision, a dream, an idea that will change the world — and a means to get there.
When we feel that we are privileged enough to have a huge range of career choices, it becomes almost debilitating to decide which career to pick.
For those of us who have the luxury of choosing a career, the luxury is a double edged sword: we are both incredibly privileged to do something that interests us, but if we find ourselves unsatisfied or downtrodden, we feel like there is no one to blame but ourselves. I’ve had friends on every end of the spectrum— the lucky triple threats, who both have a passion, pursue it, and succeed at it, as well as those who have no idea what it is they want to do and continue their careers flailing from one job to the other, unable to succeed in a 9-5 they don’t necessarily believe in. It is the burden for the millennial; we need to be successful, fulfilled, and happy and if we don’t the blame lies within us.
I think our generation’s (legitimate) entitlement to creating our own paths, rather than following one that has been set before us — is one that is riddled with uncertainty.
I wish I had a path laid out for me. I’m not a risk taker by nature, and as a visa national living in the United Kingdom, the road to my ambition is paved by the pitfalls of bureaucracy, the Home Office, job opportunities, lack of job opportunities, etc. I know, for a fact, that my dream is to become a psychoanalyst psychotherapist. I’m currently doing a masters at the Anna Freud Centre at University College London, and I am being taught by some of the most successful therapists and leaders in my field. No one, however, is able to solve my visa-training conundrum and no one is capable of giving me a set path. I think our generation’s (legitimate) entitlement to creating our own paths, rather than following one that has been set before us — how many of our grandparents worked for the same employer for years and years? — is one that is riddled with uncertainty. It is an uncertainty most of us are ready to take on, but some days I wish I could just relax and have someone tell me how to go from here.