“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
As a soon-to-be job hunter, I strongly believe holding onto this quote tightly might just be key towards having a contented life. Then I can be truly happy.
After fourteen schooling years, four more in university and another two as a working adult, it finally hit me that I got it all wrong right at the beginning. Getting a high-profile or professional career does not define my life. My career should be something that would provide me the essentials to fuel a lifestyle I enjoy. While I am at it, I might as well choose a job that I take pleasure in.
I have been studying science as opposed to arts for as long as I could remember. Back in the day, my choice of major was not driven by my passion but more to a list of items which I now perceive as shallow:
- Students doing science subjects are deemed “smarter”.
- Science students can always switch to art stream anytime but not vice versa.
- Being “technical” has a bigger chance of making more money than being “artistic”.
- A professional degree is more prestigious than just a science or arts degree.
Perhaps it’s a cultural thing. Most asian kids are typically programmed to “study hard and get a high paying job, ideally as a doctor, engineer or lawyer.” I was really poor in biology and sucked at remembering facts so I ended up graduating with a Bachelor in Engineering degree. It never crossed my mind to choose my major based on what my true passions are. Never.
My subsequent two years as a practicing engineer in Malaysia had me feeling miserable, confused, lost, frustrated, incapable and very stressed at my job. Finally, everything simply boiled down to “I hate my job!” I found out the hard way that I don’t have what it takes to be an engineer. At least not in Malaysia.
I don’t hate engineering.
I am not really good at it either. But sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I might be better off and happier doing something else that suits my personality more. If only I knew myself better then.
My decision to further my studies in New Zealand was motivated by the hope that it will open up doors for another career path – an academic profession and beyond. A second chance. I hope it’s not too late to acknowledge that I love to teach and write. Sometimes I question my own decisions in doing yet another degree in engineering, whether I am making another mistake in the choice of major yet again. Yes, I am still stuck in engineering. I have gone too far to not do a PhD in Engineering. Plus, those who can’t do, teach I trust that my background in engineering will help me teach better.
Now that I am many years older, hopefully I am much wiser in my career choices this time around. A job that not only lets me teach and write but also provides for a comfortable lifestyle. Professional recognition and opportunities for promotion are just bonuses for me.
Are you happy with your job? Have you ever regretted your choice of major or course of study?