Unpaid? “No, Thank You”

As a Graduating Senior from Spelman College this May 20th, 2012 – the job search has become a real issue. There are two sides to the career coin: 1. Do I obtain a job that pays well based on my credentials? or 2. Do I take a position in which I am making a difference in my community, but that doesn’t pay as good? The battle becomes difficult when there are debt payments to be made for furthering my education and sustaining the basic needs of life in a capitalist society. I’m sure many of us have had and will continue to have to face the age old story of working at a firm because they pay well versus doing work that we are passionate about. That’s not to say that our passions will not pay us well, but it is fair to say that some of us have abstract dreams that do not always lead to great monetary returns as swiftly as others.

So as I venture through these last few days at Spelman College, applying to any job I can find that will utilize my skills obtained here at Spelman, I find myself battling the issue of passion versus paycheck. I’ve known from a relatively young age that I would in someway make a positive impact on this world that we live in. Being a role model back home in Bermuda through out middle and high school and even as I began my college career, it was clear to me that there were young people watching me – using me as their example for what they could do, wanted to do and needed to do. I didn’t realize it at the time but being a role model was Jah’s way of prepping me for the work he would call on me to do in the years to come.

The battle has always been there even when I was a young girl. Deciding whether to do homework versus playing outside before my homework was done. I was raised in a one parent home and there were plenty of opportunities for me to ‘tell’ my mum that I did my homework before I played, knowing that I hadn’t worked on it at all. However, there was always something innate within me that motivated me to set a good example. I am far from perfect, I do not know all of the answers, nor will I ever say that the way I did things was the right way. I will say that the only reason I chose to do things the way I did was because I knew there would be some young child out there like me who would be looking for an easy way out, an excuse to say “I didn’t do it because…” and I didn’t want them to find that excuse because I was able to do it, despite the odds.

I still struggle with the ‘passion versus paycheck’ dilemma. But I have found peace in the fight, through meditation and conversations with Jah as they both work wonders for the spirit. I’m far from super religious or knowing scripture inside and out but I do believe in having a profound relationship with Jah that allows me to accept things in my life as lessons and learning experiences. I have made the conscious decision to work in a field where I will make a difference in this world. One of Spelman’s mantras is “A Choice to Change the World” – I have yet to meet a Spelman Woman who does not take that mantra seriously.

In an effort to start my own personal change, I have decided to actively apply to positions from which I know I can start my quest to make an astounding difference in this world. That’s not to say that using the corporate world in that endeavor is not an option, but it will not be my first option. I have no problem with making just enough income to sustain my basic needs here on this Earth in order to genuinely make a change in this world. My mindset had to change in order for me to make that decision which is something some folks should consider doing. It was far from an easy thing to do, changing the mindset you have been taught as a young child – to be ‘selfish‘ when it comes to your education, income and wealth building. To be selfless is far more rewarding, giving a little piece of yourself to help the next person get to where you are or at the very least assist them in setting up themselves towards where you are.

So I challenge you, my reader, to think about what is you love – if it is to make money and not worry about the issues in the world then fine. I am not trying to  make you feel guilty for feeling that way because if that is what you feel in your spirit is right for you, by all means go for it. But if you have the feeling that there is something wrong in your community that you want to see changed, do it! I heard 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and the Father of Microcredit Muhammad Yunus speak over the weekend and both his speeches were just as profound as when I heard Spragga Benz speak on his interview with the DancehallNow Crew on DaFlavaRadio.com. I truly believe that Jah is calling me to fulfill my higher purpose, what exactly it is – I have no idea – but I am willing to go through the process of finding out. I hope you will do the same.  With that, I leave you with a quote that I reworded from Prof. Yunus, I hope it inspires you to continue, change or stop what you are doing if it does not resonates within your spirit.

Don’t try to solve the entire problem all at once, start by solving a small portion of the problem. Then move on to another part, once the first part is solved.” – Prof. Muhammad Yunus

Until next time

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