I’m a senior at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, triple majoring in History, Philosophy and Political Science. I have a 3.9 GPA and will be graduating with High Honors in May of 2018 . I hope, next, to attend a PhD program in history and eventually obtain a position as a history professor. Why? It’s pretty simple. I’m looking for something more rewarding than my last job.
Before beginning my new life as a college student, I had a promising career as a drug addict. It was an uncomplicated job. I woke up, whenever work called—dope sick, if you want to be a dick about it—and proceeded to accomplish my only task of the day, getting high. Although my pursuit of drugs was often carried out in a state of agony, it occurred among friends, offering mutual consolations in a shared misery, much like a regular job.
Unfortunately, it didn’t pay very well; actually, now that I think about it, it didn’t pay anything. And, of course, taxes were a killer because, technically, I was an independent contractor and I couldn’t really write anything off. I kept this job for the unspoken benefits. I had every day off, I was my own boss, and the work was varied, demanding both critical thinking and communication skills. Although at times the risks outweighed the rewards, at the end of the day I just couldn’t say no to the vocational challenge.
But I needed a change. As much as I may have enjoyed my previous occupation, I knew it was not my ‘calling’ in life. Before, I was obsessing and stressing for hours over finding money to get high. Now, I am obsessing and stressing for hours over my studies to get good grades. Really though, the ultimate deciding factor for my change of careers was that my previous one didn’t offer much of a future. I didn’t really have any chance of receiving a permanent position, there were no health benefits, and no pension plan. At least, with a PhD in history I’m rest assured that I’ll land a permanent position with health benefits and a pension.
After all, all you can do is work hard. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it well. Remember, as long as you follow this simple formula, things will just work out. Haven’t you seen all those movies? The moral of the story is to choose a career that you love—because no matter what your job is, you’re not going to make enough money to fully relieve yourself of the everyday stresses of life. Think of our poor benighted president. The only solace you’re left with, then, is your integrity. Which by now means the preservation of your sanity.
This is the first of our First Person series, recounting how our contributors and readers arrived at pivotal points in their lives and careers. Please share your own First Person stories by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.