Reaching the 9 month mark in Portugal. In this post I won’t tell how my life here is going or how to live on low budget I will talk about people´s career paths. In the last few days I was searching for some career paths and programs, just for the sake of a curiosity. I came up with an article describing such people as generalists. It turns out there is a category for people like me, who have two many interests and things they are good at (not in an arrogant way). So I needed to gather my thoughts together.
People with many interests
Can you success without focusing on one thing? How to find a job that would not seem like work? How to suppress the travel-bug? Do you have to choose between travelling and a career? Can those things go together or is it a childish thing to wish for?
The answer to the first one is YES if you do it one by one. The life will show me answers to the others. Let’s brake it down. In different parts of your life, your focus changes drastically. In your twenties you are afraid that by choosing and committing all your time and energy on one thing you will miss out on all the other beautiful options. In the thirties people tend to narrow it down and concentrate on something particular. Me, personally, I love so many things. I have done already loads of things and every day something new comes up in my head.. How ridiculous does that sound, having 20 tabs open in my browser already says a lot. How can a person at my age decide what one would do for the rest of the life? It seems so unfair that nowadays high school graduates are basically forced to enter an undergrad right after finishing. You are young and naive and might enroll in something that is just a short-term passion or on the opposite – something that is supposed to bring you money.
When I look in my family, my dad and grandfather especially were genius. He built three houses with his own hands and was good in basically everything he did, including making jams for the winter and growing tomatoes. Of course some would say it’s a question of repetition and the current situation (he lived alone), but me, I would count him to those ones – generalists. In the Forbes magazine was published an funny article The Secret Power Of The Generalist — And How They’ll Rule The Future where the author compares specialists and generalists by looking what’s happening in the nature.
When discussing the animal kingdom, each creature resides on a species scale of generalists to specialists. Specialist creatures like the koala bear can only survive on an extremely limited set of conditions: diet (eucalyptus), climate (warm), environment (trees). Generalists, on the other hand (think mice) are able to survive just about anywhere. They can withstand heat and cold, eat your organic breakfast cereal or seeds and berries foraged in the wild.
While having many interests disturbs you from becoming the best in one field and probably get more competitive salary as well, your other skills can be useful when the market changes. Economics and the demanded professions are changing more often we expect, and by adapting to these changes you will always survive.
Being creative is a gift and a course at the same time. People who choose arts are the most limited in their choices. I have B.arch. Even if it seems a really specific field, students learn bunch of things we think we would never need because they are often generalised. Apart from architecture history and design we learn about technologies, master several 3D programs and graphical tools, learn about the environment, materials, psychology, mathematics, engineering, art, most of us speak several languages and the list doesn’t stop here. The gained degree is very beneficial since you learn so many things covering almost all the fields. Having a degree in architecture, allows you to pursue a higher degree in other related fields such as special design, landscape architecture, construction manager. You can even go and study graphical design which nowadays seems like a huge trend.
Apart from a recently done internship here in Porto, I haven’t stepped in an architecture office never in life. On the one hand I am not sad about it. I am my own boss and I have enough of free time to pursue other interests of mine. Unfortunately, sometimes too much of free time and you have to tighten your belt and look what else is out there. You see I am naturally stub-burn and going to work as a waitress would be the last thing I would do. I do not like it and I’d rather eat oatmeal. Apart from serving someone what would destroy me is the robot environment and no way to express myself creatively which for sure would lead me to some kind of depression. It’s my course and my motivator at the same time.
In conclusion what I wanted to say with all this, is that life is long and we should use our time and develop ourselves as much as possible. Don’t rush it! Getting loans and pursuing 3 degrees while searching for THE FIELD, THE PASSION, LIFETIME CALLING is not the smartest way to work it out! Some people are lucky finding their life-calling early in their life, meanwhile others just have to be patient and look for some other doors to open. I would also love to share this amazing speach.
A career is a marathon, not a sprint