self and profession

my sense of self is inextricably linked with my professional life.

this isn’t true for everyone, but it is for me. as i embark on a critical analysis of my goals and ambitions and professional direction, i find myself looking deeply into the mirror. who am i, really? what is it that drives me as a human being? how do my deepest fears and desires manifest themselves in how i do my work? what are my true strengths as a person, and how do i use them to full effect? what are the things that inspire me to achieve?
in my case, it turns out there aren’t any easy answers to these questions. you could argue pretty easily that i think too much about these things, but as it turns out, i haven’t thought that much about it for the last decade. i’m now at the point in my life where i can say i’ve ignored things for decades, and maybe that’s why i’m peeling back the veneer or my day-to-day life and looking at what’s underneath.

at the end of it all, what i seek in my career seems pretty simple: to help people by solving problems. it’s the fusion of the intellectual and the emotional, the scientist and the artist. it’s the dichotomy that i’ve always felt inside me, the polar opposites of the purely rational and the intensely emotional.

in rational pursuits, i can exercise and apply my mind to bring order to chaos, to simplify the complex, to create and discover new things. i can come up with ideas, make them real. i can try to decipher the mysteries of the world, learning and growing in the process. but all of these pursuits are meaningless without the emotional component, without the way my actions affect others.

and so with this emotional dimension of helping others, i build the connections with people i’ve always wanted deeply (yet that have often eluded me). i can try to make a difference in people’s lives, which seems to give more value to my own. i do my best to make the world a better place, however small my contributions may be. maybe it’s my fight against existential angst, or maybe it’s just my desire to be loved and accepted. maybe it doesn’t matter.

what are the ways i manifest these twin desires in my professional life? what’s the best course, if any? or can i satisfy these desires, achieve my goals, regardless of the literal course i take?
i’m currently on a journey to answer that very question…

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