I leave my job in a few weeks for another, and joining the dots of my career I see a personal evolution. It wasn’t too long ago when the ideal was holding on to jobs for life. These days, the same philosophy is seen as extremely outdated and held steadfastly only by those who fear to tread new ground.
It was deemed as loyalty back in the day.
We live in the era of “me”, and the shift in our value-systems happen so quickly we need to consciously question fair-weather assumptions.
Why is change necessary or good? Why do we expect ourselves to continually be moving, accepting new challenges and always morphing and shifting, sometime responding to changes in the external environment (the demands of the job market for example) and sometimes out of sheer boredom. Why do we expect change to be a good thing, but complain when the food stall we’ve frequented for years disappears, nowhere to be found?
As designers we often talk about iterative design, agile methodologies, continual improvement, but we forget the importance of familiarity. We forget the importance of anchors, markers, grids - the co-ordinates from which we gain reference. The 0, 0, 0s in our lives.
In a world where constant change is touted as universal truth, it is around these anchors we cluster our most treasured possessions. We build memories around places and buildings we interact with over time. The saying goes “make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, the other is gold”. The most important things in life have a constancy, even at a personal level: character, integrity, punctuality, faithfulness, loyalty. One wonders if we have traded those character traits for adaptability and resourcefulness. We can’t help but wonder if we’ve thrown trust out the window.
When people ask me for career advice, I always go back to “find your passion”. In my own rather limited experience, it is fool’s gold to chase after economic trends because the winds are too fickle and change too quickly. It is ok to switch jobs if circumstances aren’t ideal, but one’s career, nay, one’s life, should reflect an honest, faithful stewardship of a passion God has placed within him. Though change be inevitable, change occurs on the micro level; we should keep our eye on the macro. The waves that slap against the side of the boat may distract us, but we ought to point the nose of the boat at the specified point in the horizon.
We need to keep steadfast for a great many reasons. Because a lifetime is already too short a time to create real, lasting social good, much less an internship stint of 3 months. Because while it takes a short time to learn something, it takes a much longer time to master it. Because when opportunity seeks after the prepared, not the ones who are merely dabbling, and your mother has always told you to stay in one spot if you ever get lost so it’s easier to find you.
But ultimately, because these days, more than ever, people need things they can depend on, even if for a little bit. They need that food stall to be there, for their own sanity’s sake.