Earlier this week a lady with her 20-something year old son came up to the counter at our restaurant and struck up some conversation with me. She asked, “Why don’t you have a real job?”
Okay, rude—the first thought that came to mind.
The second thought came to mind was that this lady, like many others who have said similar things to me, feels sorry for me. For context, I must look like I’m struggling if all I can do at 24 is work in an old run-down food court stall with mom and dad.
Why don’t I have a real job was not the question.
The real question I think she wanted to ask was, why aren’t I chasing the image of success that the previous generation set out for us? Our immigrant parents didn’t come to this country so that I could work beside them. They moved to Canada so that their children didn’t have to work as hard as they did. They wanted social status, nice things, powerful titles, respect from their peers.
I think we all want our own version of social status, nice things, powerful titles, and respect from our peers, but through our own means.
15 years ago, the status quo for young people was to graduate from school and get a job that was related to our field of study.
That’s all changed in the past decade.
Turns out, finding a job that was related to our field of study isn’t the only path to living a good life.
Instead, we can do more. We’re more flexible than we think. We can find happiness and success through smaller, less-than-grand moments too.
To that I say, I couldn’t be more proud helping my family run our Chinese restaurant.
Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate.