A Little Perspective

SummerFall 2015 671

Perspective. It’s a mammoth of a word. It fills a room more than the proverbial elephant ever could. You hear it everywhere, from everyone.

“You need to get some perspective.” they say, “Once you have the right perspective you can get your priorities in order.”

But what is the right perspective? Would you even know it when you found it? Probably not, but that’s okay. That’s I’m here for. To give you a little bit of perspective.

These days, people are expected to choose a field of study as soon as they graduate high school, and then stick with it for the rest of their lives. As if a person who has just spent the majority of their first 18 years of life sitting in a classroom and being obedient is suddenly supposed to know how the entire world works and what field they could be an expert in for the remaining 60-80 years they have left on earth. Then if they’re lucky, that person gets to spend 4-6 years paying money that they don’t have to become an expert in that field, after which they have to fight it out with other up and coming experts to land a job in the field they are supposedly an expert in, only to find out that they will be doing nothing but proof-reading posts for social media and fixing the copy machine for the next 3-5 years.

We all need a little perspective.

First of all, who decided that we have to be experts in something before we can get an entry-level position in that field? The whole idea that you have to have experience to get experience is the biggest load of bunk I’ve ever heard, yet it has somehow become a recurring theme in our world. Entry level positions were originally designed for someone who is new to the field, to ease them in to the actions and the lingo that come with it.

Second of all, who decided that a person can’t change careers during their lifetime? Lately news stories have been praising people who are quitting their jobs and moving to a new field. Why is this news-worthy? Why is this so important? It should be normal for people to be curious about the jobs that others do, and to want to try working in new fields. Often in reality, people who attempt to learn about other positions at their companies are reprimanded for ‘doing others work’ rather than praised for ‘helping someone in need’. If they want to help, LET THEM HELP. Let them learn. Your company will be better for it. If you can’t afford to pay them for the extra work, just make sure they know that any learning they do will be on their own time, but don’t deny them information that could potentially change the course of their life.

Change is natural, and curiosity is good.

I am a jack of all trades. In this day and age, that moniker often exudes a flaky quality to it, like I’m not good enough at any one thing to stick with it. But it used to mean that the person was good at everything, just not the all time expert at every single thing. It used to be a good thing.

When I was growing up, I was home schooled. I had plenty of time to learn new things and explore all of my options. I can cook, sew, crochet, knit, paint, draw, ride a horse, dance, sing, read music, play a little piano, guitar, and flute, I know a little bit of HTML, and I know the basic rules and scoring to baseball, basketball, football, soccer, cross country/track and field, volleyball, hockey, and tennis. I can read and write, my handwriting is nice, my grammar is pretty fair, and I can speak publicly without puking all over the stage. I didn’t learn most of these things in school. I learned them because I was curious. I went to work with my father in his office. I helped my mom with work for groups that we were a part of. If I could type fast enough, I could probably be a world-class secretary. If I had that spark that allows a person to command a room, I could be a CEO or a politician. I am a jack of all trades. I can do just about anything if you give me enough time, because what I am a master of is learning. I wasn’t raised to be competitive or better than my peers. I was raised to be my best.

You don’t see a lot of that today. You see people who try just hard enough to be better than everyone around them, but once there, they don’t strive to get anywhere else. People are only trying as hard as they need to, not as hard as they could. If everyone did their best work, the world would be an amazing place. But they don’t. Everything has become a competition, and to get anywhere in any field, you have to be willing to compete against everyone you know and love.

So. Perspective.

The world doesn’t have to be a competition. You can do something because you like it. You can do something because it pays well, but you don’t have to pretend that your life rotates around it. You don’t have to work with people you don’t like. You can leave, and go somewhere that has people you do like. If you major in English that doesn’t exlcude you from becoming a video game developer. If you major in Mathematics that doesn’t exclude you from becoming a chef. People were not meant to be defined by their profession (or lack thereof!). People were not created to be two dimensional beings. They were created to be complicated and curious, excited and confident, fearful and unsure of themselves. We were created to never stop learning.

Even today, when bloggers are all writing for specific niches, there is no rule that says you can’t ever change topics. If you start as a beauty blog, you can totally become a cooking blog, or a travel blog, or a literature blog. Nothing is impossible. It all depends upon your perspective.

Until next time,

Amanda