Recently, it seems as if more and more millennials want to break down the barriers of an ever-so-common post-grad lifestyle: 9-5 jobs. Within the past week alone I’ve read countless articles about people my age (recent college grads) who were quitting their newly accepted office jobs to “find themselves” and “do something they’re passionate about” instead. Sounds familiar?
Here’s an unpopular opinion: I think this is a bad idea.
Sure, at the surface it sounds quite liberating. You spend four years in college, manage to get a job, and then say “You know what, no. I don’t want to abide by societal norms – I want to follow my dreams. I don’t care to sit in an office and do meaningless work all day.” Doing something that drastic is powerful and inspirational.
The problem is, a lot of the people making this decision don’t know what their “dreams” are. They’re quitting stable jobs and diving into the unknown. They’re leaving behind an opportunity without another one in in sight. They’re simply ready to “figure themselves out” and “discover what they really want to do.”
I understand that at 22 or 23 years old your 9-5 job might not be what you want to do for the rest of your life. Totally normal. Personally, I’ve always believed that life has a way of working itself out, which is kind of the opposite of this trend I’ve been seeing. Many of these millennials don’t want to give things a chance to change; they want to be in love with what they do right off the bat.
The problem is, quitting a job after a few months doesn’t give you the time to fully immerse yourself in all of the knowledge and resources it may have to offer. For example, you might dislike your specific role, but you could be introduced to a new field or topic along the way that interests you more. You don’t necessarily need to isolate yourself from the corporate world altogether in to fully understand who you are and what you want. Every experience in your life can provide you with something valuable, and who knows – you might just “find yourself” along the way.
Forcing yourself to find your passions is counterproductive. You don’t get to choose what you’re passionate about – your passions choose you. I strongly believe that the only way to discover what you really want to do is to try a lot of different things. Quitting your job to determine these passions on your own is extremely limiting. Often times, the best ideas and epiphanies occur in the moments you least expect them to, which in this case might happen while working a job that you’re not completely sold on.
I’m not telling you to work a job that you hate for the rest of your life. However, I am saying that working a job you aren’t thrilled about isn’t the end of the world. As recent graduates, we’re not expected to know exactly what we want to do in the future. We’re all still creating who we are and who we want to be every day.
If you’re confident in yourself and what you want, quit your 9-5 job and chase your dreams. If you’re still figuring out who you are and what your goals are, consider staying put where you are, even if you’re not absolutely in love with whatever it is you’re doing. The positive reinforcement you’ll receive on social media after announcing your rebellious decision to leave your job isn’t worth the months of stress and uncertainty that will follow until you find what you’re looking for.
Look for the good in all of your experiences, and learn as much as you can from each and every one of them. After all, you have the rest of your life to get to know yourself.