June 21, 2005

Shrug Atlas

I was recently engaged in a rather heady and emotional conversation with a trusted and wise friend of mine about what I percieve to be a lack of purpose in my life.

I've typically stated this as not knowing what I want to be when I grow up.

Well, my friend asked me rather pointedly, "What would you do if you were fearless?" Meaning, if you weren't concerned about how you would make your mortgage payment and pay the bills and all of that stuff, what would you pursue as your profession?

I immediately responded, "I would get my doctorate in philosophy, study art, and teach." It was an easy question for me because it's what I've dreamed of doing in my retirement after I had established my wealth in my career. It seems to ideal to me because the whole of my occupation would be dedicated to reading and writing and talking about ideas. Even if no one reads or listens back, this is incredibly appealing to me almost as an exercise in itself.

And he said, "Holy crap!" because he didn't know.

The oppressive lack of satisfaction in my present career brings this all to a head.

But the proposition of going back to school for another five years and accumulating more debt and living the student-level of poverty is daunting. And don't even get me started on how bleak the employment prospects for doctors of philosophy are.

Even so, now I said it out loud and I don't see a way to avoid it. My brain is preoccupied these days with how to make this happen.

He who has "why" to live for can bear almost any "how." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Posted by Flibbertigibbet at June 21, 2005 01:13 PM

My 2 cents: Use your M.B.A. as a short-term "up-elevator" to get yourself out of debt, all the while planning for your next career. Psychologically, it makes the whole process much easier.

Questions: Do you want a Ph.D., or do you want the actual knowledge? (Self-study costs a whole helluva lot less and is usually more effective.) Do you want to be an ivory tower intellectual university professor, or could you teach via a weblog, for instance? Could you not earn a living doing something non-objectionable, while at the same time pursuing your true career? (I have some small experience with this, as you know.)

Posted by: Ice Scribe at June 21, 2005 02:27 PM

Largely, the plan you outlined matches the course I have chosen thus far.

The actual knowledge is certainly what appeals to me, but additionally the direct interaction with students is also very important. I've been doing the self-study thing for a while now and it's fine and dandy -- if not a bit narrow.

Without getting too much more into it, the idea of doing something non-objectionable while at the same time pursuing my career is fine... except it doesn't provide me with some of the other opportunities I would like to explore.

Posted by: Flibby at June 21, 2005 05:43 PM
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