As a college teacher for the last 22 years, I find myself giving students career advice from time to time. But what about the student who is determined to be miserable and lost? Here is one such student:
Business major? No way. Ninety percent of business majors who get jobs out of college have to do cold-call sales. Marketing? Immoral. You spend all your time probing people’s brains so you can manipulate them into buying crap they don’t need. Economics? Are you kidding? It’s the most popular major in America. There’s a glut of econ majors waiting in soup lines. Teaching? Forget about it. You don’t even teach. Ninety percent of it is disciplining morons and doing boring paper work. Social work? Hell no. The average lifespan of that job is two years before social workers get burned out. Those who stay any longer go crazy. Nursing? No way. I hate blood. Positively makes me faint. Engineering? I have no aptitude for it. Besides, it’s an up and down industry. No job security. Nutritionist? Spend the rest of my life telling pig-faced idiots to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables? Not interested. Counseling? You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t want to talk to people with problems like mine. I won’t make my patients feel better. They’ll just make me feel worse. Now that’s depressing. Journalism? What a joke. The industry is getting smaller and smaller. Newspapers and magazines are being sucked up by giant conglomerates and advertising revenues are being lost as readers prefer free online content. I’m not so stupid as to pursue journalism. Law? And be the butt of evil lawyer jokes? Work a hundred hours a week and be unhappy as most lawyers are? Not on your life. Culinary school? I’m afraid of knives, open flames, and splattering grease. Acting? Ninety-nine percent of all actors don’t act. They wait tables. Interior designer? Can’t. I’m color blind. Yoga instructor? Lowest paying job in America. Can’t even pay for rent. I’ll be a homeless yoga instructor showing my students how to find inner peace. The peace of poverty. What a fraud. Bioresearch? And spend my life handling the Ebola virus and other lethal microbes? No thanks. Philosophy? I’ll be unemployable. If I’m lucky I’ll get a job at Baskin Robins. That’ll be fun. I’ll have a PhD in Philosophy and I’ll be able to talk about Nietzsche’s Eternal Recurrence and Schopenhauer’s Will to Power with the customers while putting sprinkles and chocolate syrup on their ice cream cones. How about being a garbage man? I can see it now. I’ll be at a cocktail party with a bunch of professionals and some beautiful woman will ask me what kind of job I have and I’ll have to tell her I make my living lifting people’s filth from the gutter. No thanks. How about winning the ten-million dollar lotto? Can you imagine? I’d lay out on a tropical island all day, drink mango nectar and eat exotic meals made by my personal chef. I’d be in a perpetual state of pleasure. Meanwhile, my brain would turn into mush. I would be a complete vegetable. It sounds hideous.
I’m not stupid. I know I need some kind of meaningful work to be happy. But I’m lost. Completely lost.