Finding Fulfilling Work (and a fulfilling lifestyle)

A good friend recently came back home to Santa Fe and gave me a few nuggets of golden advice to think about. I shared with him my doubts and fears about where my career is headed. He said, "Most people make the mistake of trying to find all their fulfillment in their work."

Being a mom and a transportation planner at the same time. January 2016 Transportation Research Board annual conference in Washington DC

Being a mom and a transportation planner at the same time. January 2016 Transportation Research Board annual conference in Washington DC

Unless you you are one if the blessed people like my mom who has known she wanted to dance since a very young age (and carried through with that passion), you are like the rest of us who jump around occupations for years trying to find "the perfect job."

With very little work experience myself, I thought maybe the work search was like the husband search: there is no such thing as the perfect husband. There is only the perfect husband for me, someone who I can work and grow with in a compatible and supportive way.

And yet what my friend said gave me hope. I have recently learned that there is a term for people who have aptitudes and interests in many different areas: multipotentialites. We are people who love dancing but also yearn to publish academic papers. We have always taken an interest in early childhood development but also study macroeconomics to understand international market trends.

So what is the perfect job for me? There isn't one. I can't possibly fulfill all of those interests in a single position. And instead of searching in vain, or trying to create this griffin of a title, I can feel comfortable in doing multiple things. I can do a day job that interests me (like city planning) and also write about and search for personal fellowships while being an avid dancer and performer in my other time. It's not a lack of focus, it's just a more realistic way to go about living a sustainable life where I don't burn out on doing only one thing.