The other day I read a text about the difference between a job and a career. The writer referred to a career as something the soul had come to accomplish on earth, one’s spiritual life task (Dharma as they call it in Indian philosophy), while work is something we do to earn money and survive.
“Hmm, what do people who don’t believe in soul make of this?” I wondered as I read.
After all, we live in a time where self-fulfilment has a central place in many people’s lives. Many apply for jobs that allow them to fulfil something within themselves, but what leads people to different professions? Is it an inner calling, passion, or interest in the field? Is the salary or stability the motivator?
In my own case, my job choices have been determined by a combination of meeting life’s demands and trying to follow my personal interests. I have had many exciting roles, one of them was my last steady job.
As a consultant & coach, I was responsible for helping unemployed people find work—those who, for various reasons, had been out of work for a long time. During those years in that small company, I learnt so many things. It gave me an in-depth insight into the human mind, communication, sales, how the welfare system functions as well as excellent and shitty leadership. My entire being was devoted to that job, and I loved it.
But I have also experienced the other side of the coin. My very short spell in a woman’s prison was one of them. I took that role because I was desperate. I dismissed my inner voice and followed my friend’s advice. “Apply for a job in prison.” It turned out to be a disastrous career experience, to be honest. But I learned a huge lesson; I was not born to do all kinds of work.
And why am I devoting a post to this topic?
A few nights ago, I watched a movie with my son. He chose the Last Breath (the film is also available on Netflix). I hadn’t heard of the movie or the incident beforehand. While watching that movie- that literally took my breath away- I could not stop thinking about what motivates our choices. While diving professionally is a passion for some people (the guys in the documentary, for instance), I could never see myself as a professional diver. I would most likely bail out during the training from a claustrophobic seizure. It somehow reminded me of my experience working in prison. We are not suitable for all kinds of jobs, and by knowing ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses, values, and passions, we can use it as a compass to navigate our career paths.
To me, all jobs are equally valuable. We are all part of a human choir that makes the wheel of society function. The fascinating thing here is what motivates our choices!
But back to the Last Breath, as the Guardian writes:
“Last Breath is the latest in an exponentially expanding subgenre of disaster docs in the style of Kevin Macdonald’s Touching the Void.” And if you have not seen “Touching the Void,” it is my other recommendation. By the way, let me know what you think of the Last Breath if you watch it. And what are your thoughts on this topic?
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2 thoughts on “What do you breathe for?”
That is an incredible story and you are fortunate to have had a job that brought fulfillment and joy!
Yes Is it not? An incredible story and it made such an impact on me that I had to share it here. Thanks for dropping by John.