“Wow!! Are you sure? Really? You, Agne? This is an interesting move! I would have never thought you would do this.” These were the reactions, words and questions I received from people whom I told about my decision to leave a corporate job and pursue volunteering in Uganda.
Oh, and I forgot to mention miscellaneous positive and negative facial expressions, sarcastic tones and various body language gestures. I need to admit not all of them were joyful, even though coming from the closest ones.
A question that often followed is best described as “But WHY?”. Everything looks great; you have worked for well-known brands, you were promoted quickly, had good performance reviews, the list goes on. I call it the “watermelon effect”, the outside is green, but if you cut to see the inside, you are greeted by a vibrant red. I totally felt like one of those watermelons!
Let’s go a bit back in time to better understand how I, and most likely many of you, grew up. Study, get good grades, enter a top university, do internships at renowned brands, travel and work in a multicultural environment, get a well-paid job, get a similar type of boyfriend/ girlfriend, hang out with cool friends, buy a house, have kids. Sounds familiar?
Look, I am not saying there’s anything wrong with this model, But I came to the point where I felt like I am taking so much from everyone and lacking in the giving department. It almost seems like everything comes relatively “easy” to me, but what do I give back?
“What do I give back?”Me a couple of Months ago.
Once you are able to check off most of the aforementioned items, you start asking yourself different questions. Why am I here? Why am I doing what I am doing? And also, what is my true passion? These questions started to bother me and I simply hated my answers. They were vague, basic and utterly meaningless to myself. I kind of felt I could do more and wanted to work towards a future where I would feel proud of my answers to those questions.
I was stuck for quite some time in what I’ve experienced as a dark place and I even put a label on it: “millennials crisis”. Millennials or generation X are known for their high usage of digital technologies and media. A crisis (from the Greek κρίσις – krisis; plural: “crises”; adjectival form: “critical”) is any event that is going (or is expected) to lead to an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual [Wikipedia].
My father would simply call it “spoilt child syndrome”, as in a child who has everything and from that luxury doesn’t know anymore what to do. He would also add that his generation (i.e. Baby Boomers or generation X) are not known to be diagnosed with this syndrome. It’s mainly for the ones who are born since early 80’s till 2000 and called Millennials.
These days my father is semi happy with me. He still thinks I am spoilt and probably will never change this opinion, but he is happy as I complain less.
I don’t feel I’ve fully discovered my purpose, though I’m stoked with the first big step towards uncovering it. I will get there and would like to invite you to follow my journey. It would be a true honour to have you tag along the way.