I’m rediscovering the pleasure of reading the Culture, Professional, etc. sections of the “better” (if I may say so) publications online. There are some quite interesting, and very often useful, pieces of information you can stumble upon out there.
One thing I stumbled upon today was not so much useful as interesting in that way you say someone’s comment is “interesting” when they’d just stepped on your toes. This particular article takes a position against women following gender stereotyped careers so strong, that it basically says that you should go against all judgement and pick a stereotypically male profession. Doesn’t that make total sense.
I am pretty much as feminist as they come, but I feel like taking up an engineering degree just so spite “the Man” or “the system” or I don’t know whom exactly is the author boycotting, is just plain stupid. I am sorry that she had wasted four years but come to think of it, it was her own decision. Once you’re at the threshold of university you’re supposed to be a well-rounded enough person who can make their own life choices. So, I’m sorry but it’s no one’s fault that you’ve wasted that time but yours.
I know how she feels, too. After I graduated from my Bachelor in Journalism I felt the exact same way. I had already realised that I do not want to be a journalist – mostly because of the state of Bulgarian journalism – and I felt like I’ve just lost four years of my life that weren’t even that much fun. What I did next, however, wasn’t mope about lost time but, very out of character for me, decided to look on the bright side. And there was one, too. Even several. First of all, now I knew one thing I did NOT want to be, which is also good feedback, I think. I knew how things work in that field, and it gave me some insight while watching the news or talk shows, etc., which made me feel like the four years were not completely wasted after all. Mostly, the bright side was that during those four years it finally became clear to me what I DO want to do, and that I really really want to do it a lot – write professionally and get into publishing. That was a big win for me because ever since my childhood dream of studying Law crashed and burned (and for the best) I had not have any clarity on what I’m supposed to do with my life next.
The other thick, fat silver lining was that even if I didn’t have any aspirations towards a career in journalism, the BA has it’s weight, and it has been helping me in my search of academic and professional realisation. Realisation in a field that no one has ever told me I’m supposed to work in. I don’t think my parents have ever pushed me towards one field or other. Partly, it might be because since I was about 7 until graduating from school I was really convinced that I want to be a lawyer, not reading much into the fact that I was best in Literature in Philosophy and not that easily excelling in History. The fact that I was privately writing essays and poems all the time was just something that I did, no strings attached.
Or so I thought. But there was this one long string attached to it. The string that has been pulling me towards that place I’m really supposed to be ever since I was a kid and spent most of my Summers perched on a cherry branch with a book. In high school I had my geeky period. I was working on the computer entirely without graphic UI, I would code a little on HTML, mostly to tweak my blog back then and I had even started reading a book about learning C++. That moment passed passed, though, and I went back to being little more than just a User. There a lot of computer people around me – my brother, my boyfriend, sever of my closest friends and a looot of acquaintances. Therefore, I have an above average technical knowledge and tech savvy but I’m in no way cut out to be any sort of engineer. I know that, I have made my peace with that.
What I mean to say is that gender specified fields have some truth to them. It has been scientifically proven that male and female brains work in a different way. Men and women have different ways of visualising, prioritising and while men are really good at focusing on one task and filtering out anything that’s happening around them (every woman who’s lived with a man knows what I mean!), women are better at splitting their focus between a few tasks simultaneously. Hence, there are professions more suitable for men or women but that in no way means they are off limits for the other gender. Not any more, anyway.
If I were to follow Belinda Parmer’s advice several years ago and had gone for maths and informatics even though I much dislike maths, would I have proven a point that I shall not be put in a box or would I have wasted even more time than I had with the Journalism degree?
I might have made it with informatics. I’m smart enough to pull it off, but it would have been a bitch! It is not my vocation so I would have had to work extra hard to barely make it great, instead of barely working for something that always feels great. That’s a little joke, of course, every writer knows that writing is not at all light labour. The point is, as Confucius said: Choose a job that you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. I think he almost had it perfect. I think it would be closer to perfect if it were: Choose a job you love, and you’ll never hate waking up to it.