20Aug/100

A Whole Lot of Happy

My good friend John Carpenter, a first-rate educational consultant, wrote a great blog on his site that I thought was appropriate for us at AfterSchool. As new grads enter the workforce it’s essential to remember that a career is a fluid thing and will grow the way you tell it to. So read on and relax.

A Whole Lot of Happy

I want to tell you about a whole lot of “happy” going on at the grocery store where I shop in downtown St. Louis today.  When I walked in, there was pop music playing--nothing strange about that, but I heard hands clapping and some people singing, too.  I thought maybe some group was performing; often, this particular store (it’s the Schnucks Culinaria, by the way) features live performers in their upstairs cafe.  But no, no special performance anywhere--until I got to the check-out line, that is.

What was going on was that it was lunchtime when the line to the cashier area is often really long--ten to twenty people at a time.  But that line was moving!  And it wasn’t the customers making all the noise; it was the cashiers.  They were bouncing and smiling and moving things along faster than I’d ever seen before.  When it was my turn to check out, the cashier and the bagger were dancing away to the tune of Beyonce’s “Put a Ring on It.”

Oh, oh, oh.

Anyway, it made me think about being happy in what you do.  A lot of people have been asking about how to choose a major in college and being afraid to choose the wrong thing.  Well, my advice is to choose what makes you happy if you can.  If you need to change your plan of action later, then you change.

In response to my last blog, a lot of people who are out of college confirmed that their current careers had very little to do with the actual subject matter that they studied in college.  For example, one person is a systems administrator, but majored in international studies; another is a pastor who majored in physical education; one works in high level finance and she majored in history (though she admits to having a history book in her hand pretty much 24 hours a day); one friend is the executive director of a national scholarship organization and he studied biology, another is a college counselor who studied political science. And there were several more as well.

The point, I guess, is to major in what you want but realize that the career path you eventually choose may have very little to do with your actual degree.  And that’s okay.  The important thing is to learn how to ask questions, interpret data, interact with others, and present your ideas.  Whatever you major in, strive to make those four goals your goals.

The happiness thing is important, but we tend to forget it because we are always thinking about career and how to be successful.  Buying groceries today reminded me that if you can’t find some “happy” in what you do, then something is definitely not right. (I gotta get that song out of my head!  Oh, oh, oh.)

What do you think?

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