Sense of Life

Earlier today, Rebecca Thorman asked me what my highest value is, and how a blog can help fulfill that. After a conversation with my friend earlier this evening, my mind drifts over to “careers” and how they’re so integral to our identities (or maybe it’s just an American thing).

To me, my career would be the extension of how I see myself. My values, my belief system. It would represent how I wish to be seen by the world.  This is why blogging for your career is so important because you can control how and what people see about you. You shape your own image.

A friend of mine wants to work with a very well-known company. Apparently it’s very well to-do. I am not impressed but my friend’s values don’t reflect my own. From our conversation and from knowing him, I’ve gathered that he wants to live “the high life”. Traveling internationally, staying in nice hotels, working for a company that everyone knows (although I had never heard about them before he told me about it). When I asked him why he wanted to work for them, he didn’t mention the company’s ethics, their statement of purpose; he just talked about all the perks of living in exotic places. Although he didn’t say out right, I got this impression that his underlying purpose was to be envied by others.  

And it makes me think of my own sense of life. Ayn Rand describes it as “The integrated sum of a man’s basic values is his sense of life.” This isn’t to say that wanting to work a glamorous job, or live a glamorous life is inherently vapid, or immoral. It’s an issue of priorities, of what appeals to us and what resonates with how we see ourselves. This is probably why people used to have a mid-life crisis, or why the quarter life crisis exists now – not knowing who you are can really dampen one’s spirits.

I’m writing this post because while I don’t necessarily agree with my friend’s motives for wanting to work with this particular company – because they don’t align with my own sense of life – I need to realize that’s how he sees his life RIGHT NOW. It might change down the line, or it might not. But what it DOES help me do is figure out where I stand, what my own values are because my work will reflect what I believe. And while I don’t know exactly what kind of work will reflect my values (or entirely what my values are), I can learn by looking at the choices my friends make, and looking at the advice (or criticism) I give them in return.

And that’s where this blog comes in.

4 thoughts on “Sense of Life

  1. I think it’s great to recognize that you can’t expect others to live inside your values, and you can’t expect to live outside your own values and in someone else’s. So many people want to compare themselves with others, but most likely someone else’s path and values aren’t the same as yours, so why use their measures of success as your own? It’s an easy concept to grasp, of course, but harder as a daily discipline.

  2. I agree with Rebecca. And it’s something that you learn as you grow; it’s not so much a case of deciding what your values are all at once and planting a flag in that territory, as if to say “these are my values.” Instead, as you hinted at in your post in terms of your friend, our values evolve as we do. We are complex and fluid, and sometimes, so are our values.

  3. Pingback: Enough is enough « desideratum

  4. Pingback: Who Do You Like? And Why? « parisianfeline

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