Do we follow our dreams or take the safe route?!


Should we focus on getting jobs that fulfill us, or is it all about putting food on the table? I guess there is more than one way to earn a living, yet it is much easier said than done.

It's no secret that youth unemployment is an issue in this nation, and one that doesn't often get the airtime that it deserves.  Granted our situation is a far cry from the malaise that is the European situation, with the likes of Spain and Italy seeing double digit unemployment numbers. However, in the economic situation that we are in today, is traditional job creation the answer?

One of the ways in which the United States has continued to be an attractive location for entrepreneurs and budding start ups is its welcoming policy framework around innovation and enterprising.

Furthermore, the extraordinarily capitalist nation that America is means that young people 'must' make it - they don't have the same safety net of HECS (Higher Education Commonwealth Support) and Centerlink that we take for granted here in Australia.  As such, young people graduate from university with lukewarm prospects of traditional employment and debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The system, although not perfect, rewards enterprising and entrepreneurship.

In Australia, although we are placed in the top 10 nations for entrepreneurship culture around the world, doesn't necessarily reward it in the same way...

However, is it becoming a more important piece in the puzzle to fight unemployment?

This isn't the only problem either.

On an ideological front, the idea of following your dreams if often sold.  We are taught coming up through school that we should follow our passions, do what we love, never give up, keep trying and it will all work out.

On the other hand, society shuns failure, and we still need to find ways to put food on the table.  Furthermore, the workforce itself hasn't changed.  It's seems to be full of people who 'put the hard yards in' to get to where they are now, and see a job as a form of employment and a duty for the pay check as opposed to a place for self fulfillment.  Our bosses aren't there to help us find our purpose in life.  They've hired us for a job and it's that job they are interested in.  If you've been one of the lucky ones to find a job that perfectly aligns with your love in life then you're doing well, but as has become clearer to me as I have moved into the workforce, not everyone has that luxury.

Once we start asking ourselves these questions, it seems like everywhere you turn you can find the blog of someone who has turned their passion into paying job.  'I want to do that!' You think...I want to do what makes me happy!

Of course, this then goes to the point about happiness, and whether life is about finding happiness or about meaning...and what does that mean anyway?

This leads me back to the original question.  Should we forgo security and working ‘for the man’ to ‘follow our dreams’ which is a much riskier path, or do we take the safe option and do what we are ‘supposed to’ by getting a good, less risky, stable job and figuring the rest out on the side?

I don't know. I haven't figured it out yet. People keep telling me I have my whole life to go (Insha' Allah), but sometimes I feel this anxiety about whether the choices I am making about my career and path and the right choices or whether I am closing doors that I will regret.

...then I think of the words of my friend who very simply said:

'You are in the place you are meant to be right now, and it's perfect.  All the choices you've made have brought you here, and so it's all perfect for right now'.

I guess it is times like this I find solace in the concept of fate and destiny.  Alhamdulilah...


What do you think?


Yassmin Abdel-Magied