Taking advice from a 97 year old

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How will you remember your life now when you are 97?
Will you remember your job title? The car you own? Your favourite outfit?
Chances are you won’t, and even if you do, it won’t matter any more.

Speaking to my wonderful grandmother the other day I realised that I most likely won’t even remember my next job title in sixty years time, let alone my last one. It threw into perspective my angst over creating the perfect CV and looking for the ‘right’ job. I may feel like it has everything to do with my life now, but in a few decades time it will all be forgotten.

It is all about who you are to other people, not necessarily what you did. Your legacy will last in the memories of those around you, family, friends, colleagues and even how you treat acquaintances will be remembered.

It often feels like career is everything for those of us in our late twenties and early thirties. Your job is how you make your mark on society, how you carve your future steps in life. It is also an elusive thing, the hard-won degrees and education no guarantee of future success in the job market. So we are left feeling a little hurt and confused when yet another job application is met with a stony silence.

Fortunately a career is not for life any more, if one doesn’t work out we can try another, and another, and another. The world is our oyster. We can take any direction we choose.

However, it feels like there are too many options and very little direction. No wonder it often feels like I am having a ‘quarter-life crisis’. Having studied for years, then pursued endless internships, the hope of finding a paid job at last in my chosen domain is dwindling fast, and I am told that perhaps I should try something different. Start again. It’s feels horribly like a game of Snakes and Ladders where I have just stepped onto a serpent’s leering grin and find myself humiliated, back at the beginning.

Fortunately career is not everything and I will laugh at myself in decades to come, for anxiously pursuing an ideal that never was to be mine. Instead I shall remember the times I shared with family and friends, the places I visited on holiday and far more interesting stories yet to come.

So, on that note, I think I shall take early retirement!

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