What Kids can Teach Us
By S. Zimmermann

It is impressive to see how far kids and teenagers are able to take responsibility for their own future. The regular Friday demonstrations for reducing our impact on climate change are just one example. It shows that they do believe in making a real impact. But this is obviously not the only noteworthy example.

I was recently with a friend when she asked her three-year old daughter whether she would want to become the chancellor of Germany when she grows up. The kid replied in a very unphased tone: "No, I want to be and stay Cynthia (not her real name)". It was both, unbelievable and refreshing, to see that the little one’s mind is not polluted with illusions that she needed to become ‘something else’ in later life, but it is completely at peace with being herself already. And she is three!

When presented with a similar question, my own peer-group, namely friends from school, university or former jobs, come up with a much different answer. Amongst them, there is one group who defines itself according to the career path they have actively chosen in order to ‘become’ a lawyer, a doctor, an architect or a teacher. They are what they do (and, sadly, not the other way around).

And then there are others, whose studies did not deliver a title or a definition of the work in the corporate world. This second group, interestingly, often struggles to see themselves in any another career than the one they are currently in. This is quite noteworthy, since the career options for the first group are often rather limited. Whereas, those in the second group with a broader field of study have a wider ‘choice’, since they can enter into a variety of professions.

Yet, the second group finds it harder to jump into the cold water of a new industry or field of work, Yes, this does have something to do with the job environments. However, it also has to do with their own struggle to pin down their skills and capabilities that seem to not fit the standard job descriptions.

Here, I want to bring in to my earlier observation. I wish more of us have the confidence of the three-year old Cynthia to not become someone or something else but rather trust our own abilities and stay true to yourself as yourself. Form new friends, reach out to diverse communities or just try out something different instead of staying in a job you are unsatisfied with. And, if this feels like too big a step to take, just look into the mirror and say: “I want to be and stay me”!
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