Gender & Identity, Life

An unplanned career opportunity helped me find my purpose in life

For once, I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile and not whiling away my time in any shallow pursuits. It was an awakening.

We’ve all suffered from the existential dread of uncertainty especially when it comes to our career.  I’ve struggled with it for as long as I’ve known I had to “choose something to do in life.” It’s almost been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember.

In September 2015, I came across the opportunity to intern for an NGO and this wasn’t something I’d expected or planned in any way. I’d always been confused about what I wanted to do, and where I’ll end up so I took the internship without thinking twice.

I purely took it up out of the need to find out what I actually wanted to do and what would be a good fit for me – and I’m so glad I did because the internship was an enlightening experience for me.

Up until then, I was always oscillating between careers I (seemingly) knew nothing about, but suddenly, I was in a field I’d never in my wildest dreams imagined myself to be in. I was working towards helping not just one life, but multiple lives at once on a daily basis. I was doing something for the welfare of people. And that made me feel fulfilled.

I’d never experienced this feeling in any of my internships prior to this one. And it was quite a lovely feeling to have. For once, I felt like I was actually doing something worthwhile and not whiling away my time in any shallow pursuits. It was an awakening.

I realized that (as cheesy as it might sound), helping people and society in a positive way helped me feel at peace. It helped me feel good. My search for the “ideal career” got a whole lot easier because even though, back then too, my 19-year-old self knew that I had time to finally decide what it is I wanted to pursue – my search had narrowed down considerably.

I came to the realization that my goal was simply to get that feeling of satisfaction, and a feeling of fulfillment, which I did get from the internship.

I knew from that moment on that if my career (whatever it may be) doesn’t involve an altruistic purpose to it in one way or another, then it won’t give me any joy. I want my work to impact society in a positive manner, and I want to work to see the change happen.

In a way, I found my true calling with that internship. The NGO’s work ethic and the atmosphere was not just a great place to be, but also, a very satisfactory experience as a whole.

It helped me realize my purpose in life that has actually helped put my (otherwise) chaotic mind at peace. Just knowing that this one small thing that must be characteristic no matter what career I take up helps me narrow it down and instills a sense of knowing that I will end up with a career that makes me feel fulfilled, no matter what.