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Good Career and Meaningful Life Essay


Many people usually grapple with the thought of how to lead a fulfilling life, but have no idea how to achieve that. The prevailing sentiment is that careers are great prerequisite of leading to fulfilling lives. However, this is usually a wrong supposition because things work differently for different people.

This paper aims at analyzing how Shop class and Soul craft author Mathew Crawford’s ideas of a good career and meaningful life apply in real life case studies. Using external sources, the paper will also examine the validity of Crawford’s ideas about good career and meaningful life.

Crawford (8) says that individual agency makes a good career. That is why people go back to doing things they loved to do years ago when they were younger or what they had wanted to do. He gives the example of people doing odd jobs because they give them a sense of satisfaction.

Crawford’s position gets support from the story by Kat James about coincidence. In her story, Kat professes that she had always wanted to be a gardener ever since she was six years old. In pursuing her childhood desires, Kat has never been happier. The career changes have essentially made her life more meaningful. She derives a greater sense of satisfaction from it, despite making much less money than she would have if she had taken the new job. Anthony also stumbled upon what he loved to do and managed to make a good career out of it.

Crawford (31) is of the idea that manual work motivates the worker more than white collar work. He adds that the prevailing mentality that blue collar jobs are mindless as compared to white collar jobs is wrong. Crawford is of the idea that a good career is one that encompasses both thinking and doing that is the essence of blue collar work.

A good career leads to a meaningful life so if somebody has the desire to lead a meaningful life, then he or she should return to the basics of blue collar jobs. Both characters, Kat and Anthony, exemplify this point very well (Bronson 3). Kat James decides to leave her plum white collar job for a career in garden design. In the end, she derives more satisfaction from her blue collar job (Bronson1 para 2).

Bronson1 says that Kat has found her sense of purpose and meaning from garden design than from being surrounded by technology. Anthony, the diver who loves to read, is an important illustration of the view that blue collar jobs are not mindless. His job as a marine diver is a blue collar job, but requires a lot of concentration if it is to succeed. Anthony had to read a lot before he could become a good marine diver.

According to Bronson3, he read a lot on alloys, civil engineering, land erosion and oceanography, in addition to books on the science of child psychology. He serves to corroborate Crawford’s idea that a meaningful career encompasses both thinking and doing.

Anthony’s career has also helped him have a good and meaningful life because he applies the same principle in his relationship with his partner Shelby. Shelby says that at the bottom of the sea where one cannot fight or run away from the currents. They use the same principle in their relationship with Anthony (Bronson3 para 2).

In the second paragraph of the eighth page of Crawford’s book, he says that, in pursuit of meaningful lives, many people try to free themselves to the global economic forces. The reason, he says, is that they believe that the forces are the main factors to them attaining meaningful careers and lives.

This view is corroborated by Anthony Anderson’s experiences. He says that himself and many other young men in the navy were grateful for the opportunity to join the military because if not he would have been just another broke and homeless person (Bronson3 para 8).

Anthony had succumbed to the global economic forces. In the case of Kat James, she had been riding on the global economic forces for a long time. The long boom years had enabled her to have a job without a college education and even become a professional. She was, however, waiting for a chance to get a well paying job from one of her clients.

This is what fuelled her desire to continue with the job, despite her heart not being into it. In the end, however, both parties realize that they are mistaken in letting themselves be controlled by such forces and decide to take matters into their own hands. This leads them to discover careers that they enjoy and which give their lives meaning and purpose.

According to Crawford, a good career is characterized by the individual using his or her skills in the chosen job or career. He says that most of the time when an individual is employed, the employer does not look at the individual’s skill set, but at how he or she will fit in well with the team.

He adds that this has in turn made it hard for managers to assess where to award credit or blame to the various employees. Crawford says that this problem is seen mostly in white collar jobs, but rarely found in blue collar jobs like carpentry. This relates to Kat’s story in that she was an employee of a telecoms firm and therefore, a member of a team.

This is why she stayed on the same job position for long because, as Crawford says, her individual contribution could not be assessed. Anthony, the diver who loved to read gained his skills from studying the various courses related to diving (Bronson2 para 11). Fitting in as a member of the team is crucial, but the employee should be able to do his own work like in Anthony’s case.

Crawford is of the view that a good career involves creativity, which is a direct by-product of long and relentless practice. This according to him is the only way to produce Einstein’s in every field. Like Einstein who put in long hours doing algebra, a person must put in long hours for him to become competent at a discipline and subsequently be creative. It is after gaining competence that economic independence follows.

This is a valid argument which can be supported by the case studies provided by Bronson2. Anthony for example had to put in long hours of studying for marine diving for him, eventually, to be a good diver. He had to study alloys, civil engineering, and oceanography and land erosion for him to eventually become a good diver. In the same breadth, Kat James had to put in time to study a horticulture course. She also worked in a nursery to nurture her skills. In the end both individuals ended with good careers and fulfilling lives.

Works Cited

Bronson, Po. On Courage and Risk. 4 Sep. 2010. Web.

Bronson, Po. (a) Sample chapters from what should I do with my Life? 4 Sep. 2010. Web.

Bronson, Po. (b) What should I do with My Life? 4 Sep. 2010. Web.

Crawford, Matthew. Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. New York: Penguin Press, 2010. Print.

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