COMMENTARY: Getting Started

Chris’s parents were proud of him when he graduated from college. But it’s been six months and he hasn’t gotten a job yet. In fact, he hasn’t looked seriously. He has no idea what he wants to do and he’s thinking of grad school.

He’s living at home with his parents and things are getting tense, especially with his father, who accuses Chris of being lazy and afraid to enter the real world.

Chris thinks his dad is being totally unreasonable. After all, he’s only young once and he needs some “space.” During a recent argument, Chris said, “I’m not you, Dad. I have my own way of doing things. I want a job I enjoy.”

His dad replied, “That’s a nice idea, but in the end they call it ‘work’ because it’s aboutmaking a productive living — not having fun.”

There are many youngsters like Chris who are having trouble getting started with a serious job and becoming self-reliant. Some, like Peter Pan, just don’t want to grow up. Some are afraid of making a wrong decision or of being rejected. Others are victims of what psychologists call “magical thinking.” They believe that when the time is right, everything will fall into place. So they wait for opportunity to come knocking or until they feel inspired or excited about their next step.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. What’s crucial is to begin. Things happen and opportunities appear most often when we’re moving, not standing still.

Momentum is vital. Basic physics says it’s easier to alter the course of a moving object than to start movement initially. In the end, it’s not really about finding yourself. It’s about making yourself.

The first steps are the hardest, but the key to success in anything is getting started.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 4

  1. While I agree that Chris should definitely get out there and “begin,” I don’t agree with his dad that work is simply about making a productive living. I know so many people who make good money that despise their jobs and are dissatisfied and unhappy. I think you should enjoy your job. It may take a few jobs for Chris to figure out what makes him happy, but he shouldn’t settle for a job that brings stress and dissatisfaction.

    1. Unfortunately, for many (dare I say most) kids, waiting for the perfect job that they “love/like” to come their way is a deceptive concept sold to them throughout their youth. Kids at every stage of their life have to engage and interact with adults starting out by doing the most menial jobs. Self esteem comes from picking ones self up after criticism or failure to complete an assigned task to expectation. It starts at home. Ambition & self reliance…take pride first in a wallet half full and a job well done. Happiness? Getting change back for your coffee.

  2. Dear Michael,

    Most “happy” and professionally contented/rewarded adults I experience have found various ways to “make it FUN”. In other words, finding ways to enjoy our activities, whether it be work, play, church, recreation,rest, etc is simply CRITICAL to our overall, long term happiness. This is a creative fundamental necessity to happiness. Family peace and mutually nurturing “internal basis” is another fundamental requirement; and then we go OUT to serve and make things with others.

    Getting started really speaks for itself. Do it now !! :):):) Do more tomorrow; and then your (so-called) career will formatively evolve into rewarding years, decades and generations. The goal setting along the way will aid the “positive structure” necessary for safe, forward progress !! :):) Great topic :):)

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