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The Art of Letting Go

The Art of Letting Go

Once a communication professor told our class how agitated she would get when she encountered someone working in the "wrong job." She said she would just want to shake them and tell them to "quit their job as fast as they could!" How unfortunate for those misplaced workers, I remember thinking. Hope I don’t become one of them!

Lately my mind is wrapped up in finding the best possible career ever. Okay, that’s a lie. Ever since I graduated in spring of 2005, I have been trying to figure out my calling and passion in the working world. I went to Spain for a little while, and I was certain everything would just figure itself out …

If job searching is daunting, finding a career is just about the scariest thing ever. We begin asking ourselves the obvious: What do I like to do? I like to help people. Okay that’s good, now what kind of job helps people? Oh, every job? Well how about my passions? What am I passionate about? I like God a lot. Will my passion be applied at X company? If I am interested in a career that happens to pay really well, does that make me greedy? Maybe I should just move to another country and help people and minister and be poor.

I often feel overwhelmed by these and many other kinds of questions regarding choosing "the right job." And there is a very good explanation for why I, and many other recent college grads, stir over such provoking questions. We are afraid. Afraid of making the wrong decision, of being disappointed and discovering our new found career is not what we hoped it would be.

The darned Magic 8 ball will only take me so far. The truth is, no matter how much research I do in choosing a career, until working in the field, I will never know without a doubt if it will satisfy me. A friend told me that maybe the reason jobs are never fully gratifying is so that we can appreciate the many other parts of life, like family, hobbies, friends and awesome shows like Scrubs.

I am learning that life is about practicing listening to God’s wisdom, and then letting our self-doubt subside, in order to improvise the best we can. And finding the best career is just a scale up from choosing the best school or the perfect transportation unit. We make choices, do the best we can, and then we let go.

Musicians do it. You can hear it in the voices of their instruments. Jazz is especially known for its masterful improvisational moments. I once asked a jazz piano great, which scale he had used in a particular section of a piece he played called "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." "I don’t know," he softly said. "When I practice I think, when I play I just feel."

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