The Stress of Conformity

stressby Jeff Justice, CSP

Five years after college, I felt I had “majored in minors.”  Imagine me: stressed out, divorced, and working at a magic shop!  Can you imagine the conversation over dinner with my parents after they saw me demonstrating tricks to tourists at the Omni Hotel in Atlanta?  What about all the dollars and time I had committed to the path I chose not to follow?  (I crammed a four-year course of study into five years.)  Dad commented, “You look happy….” No judgment.  His only care was for my happiness.  What an incredible gift!

Working in the magic shop was an important stopover on my path, even though there must have been a few people who really worried about “Poor Jeff.”  I would have been poorer if I had conformed to others’ expectations.  I can’t imagine where my life would have gone without this unexpected detour.

Are you happy with your life’s direction?  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43% of social sciences graduates reported that their jobs were unrelated to their major field of study.  28% of grads in social services and public affairs, 43% in psychology, 18% in computer science and math, 42% in humanities, 58% in history, 10% in health professions, 36% in biology students, 13% of engineers, 15% in business management and 20% in education agreed.

On the other hand, another survey reports that half of the graduates in technical fields said, if given the chance again, they’d choose to major in artistic, expressive studies relating more to people than things.  Can you picture half our workforce bringing only half of their heart, their mind, their skill and their passion to work every day because their work doesn’t speak to the people they really are?

Your work isn’t about “conformity,” it’s about you.  Rich Devos wrote, “Work is good only if it leads the worker to freedom, reward, recognition, and hope.  If our work is not satisfying (financially, spiritually, psychologically), we need to end that work as quickly as we can and begin work that is.”

What makes you happy?  There’s much less stress in doing what you love.

If you found these tips from Jeff Justice, CSP of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com. __________________________________________

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