The book “Killing Lions” is a conversation between John and Sam Eldredge about the trials young men face.
[John] There are two basic approaches to college education. Plan A is merely “career grooming.” Choose the professional trajectory your life will take, follow the prescribed courses that will prepare you to enter that profession, and proceed as quickly as possible up the ranks. I understand the appeal of this approach because it seems to make sense and promise results—at least on paper. Colleges love to promise career results and parents love those promises. But there are an awful lot of disappointed econ majors out there working at Starbucks. “Follow this plan and you’ll get this life” can be a real shocker when it doesn’t pan out; it leaves you feeling betrayed if this was the assumption you were working under. This is especially true in a volatile global economy.
Plan A ignores one vital piece of reality: very few people end up working in the field they studied in college. I don’t know anyone, personally. Even my doctor friend grew tired of the medical profession and now works in a nonprofit. I majored in theater as an undergrad and then did a master’s in counseling; Mom chose sociology. Now we are both writers. Life just doesn’t follow a clean, clear, and linear path. More importantly, people don’t.
I’m reading a fascinating book called Shop Class as Soulcraft; the author is a young man who graduated with a doctorate in political philosophy from the University of Chicago, took a sweet job as executive director of a Washington think tank, found himself constantly tired and dispirited, and after six months quit to pursue his dream of running a motorcycle repair shop. Times have changed. My father came from the generation who graduated college, signed on with a company, and stayed for life. But today’s signs indicate that your generation will have something like nine different careers—not merely jobs but careers—over the course of your life.