Do you have a bucket list?
It’s in one of my old notebooks, I have quite a few. Old notebooks that is. Not bucket lists. Bucket lists…I’ve got just one.
One of the items on my bucket list is to live and work in a foreign country for at least 6 months. I made this bucket list quite a while back, when I was in form two or three maybe. Once that notebook filled up, I kinda shelved it away and forgot about it.
Then high school ended, uni happened and even that came to a close.
In uni, I encountered…AIESEC! Just about the best student organisation..ever!
Well…depends on where you are standing. There’s this thing we used to say, AIESEC is for everyone but not everyone is for AIESEC, which is fine. I bet there’s loads of other ways to pass time on campus that could make you just as phenomenal an individual through the experiences and interactions. I also bet there are people who encounter AIESEC and come out the other end none the better. Worse off perhaps. There’s really no road map to the hows and whys of life so…what happens happens.
After going on an AIESEC volunteer internship for two months several years ago, I knew that when I finished school I wanted to go on one of their professional internships. Bucket list aside, at this point it was long buried and forgotten, I’d had such a wonderful time on exchange, I wanted to take that next step.
Over a year ago, cause I’m a massive pre-planner, I started looking through and applying for those professional internships. They are difficult to get so I was getting a head start.
It took me 10 months to get a response from a company that wanted to interview me for their opportunity and then…YAY! MATCHED! Finally…somebody wanted me! Trust me…I had been through my fair share of rejections. Those are not fun. Always getting your hopes up by letting you know your application is being considered and then shattering your psyche by letting you know you did not make the cut. Meeh!
I had not put all my eggs in that one basket though. I’d applied to loads of opportunities locally and when the AIESEC internship was finally confirmed, some of the other local companies were just starting their rounds of interviews. Aptitude tests, group interviews, managers interviews…those things big named multinationals make you go through. Not having anything to gain or lose…I went for them, just for fun. I mean…why not!
They were a wonderful break from my days spent in my pyjamas on the couch or in my bed. Plus, I kinda enjoyed watching guys squirm a bit. The interviews are not necessarily hard. It all comes down to reasoning if you ask me.
I remember talking to this one guy after we did our first task at the group interview. The challenge was to state the order in which you would do a bunch of tasks and state why you would do them in that order. They were ordinary day to day things in the life of an employee. Meetings, trainings, plus things that just come up in life because man is not an island, like calling your mother back after finding two missed calls from her. Personally, first thing I did in my hypothetical day was call my mother back. Never mind that those are office hours and I’m trying to get a bunch of executives to hire me. My mother is my mother! So I called my mummy.
This guy…called his mum back at the very end of the day! His reasoning being that office hours are office hours and one needs to show commitment to the job in spite of everything. He was unsettled because given the interviewers reactions, he kinda guessed leaving his mother hanging all day was a mistake.
Well, my rounds of interviews kept going well and I’d be surprisingly called back to the next stage till they were ready to make an offer. At which point I went in person to tell them that I wouldn’t be accepting the offer and apologised for wasting their time. The next day, a friend of mine got the job and when he told me how much they are paying…jaw drop!
Also on my bucket-list is to be a dollar millionaire. Sigh.
This bugged me for a day or two. The fact that I had turned down such an amazing offer. I remember thinking about it in the shower, telling myself I had done the right thing but deep down wondering if I really had.
I did. I did do the right thing. I want to finish this piece and tie things up really nicely, to prove that I have done the right thing. Let me try. Is there a point in life at which it becomes okay or necessary to start compromising your happiness? If yes, is it when you have dependents, mouths to feed? When you have responsibilities, bills to pay? When you have no option, have to eat?
A lot of people wake up everyday to go to jobs they may not necessarily like to perhaps support people they love. They possibly have no other option and bills still need to be paid.
Is that what growing up is? Slowly relinquishing your independence? No doubt the older you become and the more responsibilities you have, ever narrower grows the choice of paths you can take until at last you are left with only that which you must do. Perhaps not always, but think about it, there’s some truth to that. Going on that bit of truth, does it not make sense to prioritize that which you want, your dreams, as much as possible while you still can? While they are not too many factors in play yet. Then these choices more attuned to what you truly want then lead you towards a singular path in future that you will not mind being your only option.
Whatever the case, I’m really not ready to start compromising. To start telling myself that I’ll only do option A while waiting for what I truly want, option B, to become more easily and conveniently attainable. The truth is, the stars may never come aligned. Why not go out there and align them myself?
Now either because I am very convincing(to myself) or because I’m right, I have found peace. I’m pretty sure that I’m too young to make money my main aim. So in the meantime, I shall take the offer that’s paying close to peanuts and is ten times the growth and fun over the one that will have me making bucket loads of money doing something I only kinda do not mind doing while putting off my dreams.
If wisdom comes with age, I shall revel in the carefree stupidity of youth. Cannot wait to see where that leads, perhaps to wisdom later in life. Besides, regretting not taking the high paying job haunted me for two days…MAX! 20 years from now, not taking the opportunity to live and work abroad doing something I want to do would still be haunting me.