In an earlier post, we shared Bertrille’s regrets about her work life. Jenny commented on the post, sharing her own struggles to find a place in the world of work. Although our elders in the Legacy Project can’t respond to individual questions – can you? Does anyone have some life wisdom to share? Please comment to share your thoughts. Below is the original post, and Jenny’s comment follows.
Sometimes the elder’s lessons come not from what they did right, but from what they felt they did wrong. They advise younger people not to do as they did. So it is in this lesson about finding work that has meaning for you.
Bertrille, 69, flirted with a number of careers over the course of her life, from graduate school in the humanities, to work in research , eventually training as a nurse and practicing in several different settings. Her main regret is never having taken the time and energy to learn what type of work she would find meaningful and even love:
Work for me? Well, you know, some people have careers and they find what they love to do. For me, work was to make money to do the things I wanted. It didn’t really have much value to me. And I’m very sad to be in my sixties and to have to say that, but it’s really the truth. I worked to live, I didn’t find anything in it that held a lot of meaning to me. I drifted from one thing to another and never really found a purpose.
So I feel sad, I feel very sad about that. I wish I could’ve found something that I really enjoyed but I didn’t do that.
When I look back on my life, I have one area of regret and that is I listened too much to what other people told me to do. I think people have to follow their own instincts about who they are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what they have to offer. You should not listen too much to what other people tell you to do. I have to deal with that sense of lost purpose.
Here’s what Jenny wrote in her comment. Do you have any life lessons to offer her?
Dear Bertrille, thank you for sharing your life lessons.
I am currently 34 year old and I am one of those who has moved from job to job because I didn’t like the previous one. 3 Years ago, I realized I must stop wasting time and do something more meaningful in my life. I know I want to make a difference in other’s life, particular to those less privileged.
Determined and ambition as I always am, I got myself into a Tier 1 MBA program, aiming to build a more rounded skill-set and a strong network so I can have a good foundation to get started on my life ambition. I dream to establish an institution that teaches and builds people’s character through simulated activities, particularly for disadvantage children in various parts of the world. I see that many people in influential positions today do not exemplify good character such as integrity, courage and compassion. They often get to where they are because of their privileged background and network, without many tests and trials in their lives. It is very disappointing reality for me. I want the institution to raise the awareness that character building is first and foremost and through various activities to instill admirable characters to young children.
As I have no money to start, I tried leveraging on my network to find job opportunities in existing organizations of similar purpose/field and wait till the right moment to start. Maybe it’s the current state of the economy or just bad luck, I joined 4 organizations so far, none of them were able to offer a full-time role. Now, a year and a half after my graduation, I am penniless and with a huge school loan to pay back. The reality of life keeps haunting me and thank goodness I do not need to support a family. I am now applying to any job that I see fit to my previous banking background as I must deal with the reality of life. Yet nothing comes my ways, except a few small consulting projects here and there which is hardly predictable nor able to cover my basic expenses. In my most despair moment, I’d ask myself what’s wrong with me? How big is the price to pursue my dream? Why wouldn’t anyone wants to hire a motivated and highly-skilled with individual? And many more such questions…
I am not giving up my dream. But my question is, what would you do if you were me at this juncture of life?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.