In college, there wasn’t a career assessment test that I didn’t take. Even what appeared to be a firm decision to pursue a career in the law did not detract from my compulsion to take career assessment test after career assessment test. You’d think my obsession with taking these examinations was driven by a steady stream of exotic and quirky career suggestions. But no, I generally fell into a specific set of career fields: law, journalism, and psychology. One day, as I scanned through what I believed would be the usual list of careers, I was stopped cold by what I deemed to be a most unusual career recommendation; Rabbi. At that time, the only thing I knew about Rabbi’s was that they were affiliated with the Jewish faith, they read Hebrew texts, celebrated Hanukkah and seemed to wear a lot of black clothing. Aside from the black clothing, nothing about me becoming a Rabbi synced. Consequently, I furiously went through each multiple choice question in search of the question, or set of questions, that led to the suggestion that I become a Rabbi. A career in the law, got it; a career in journalism, I can see it; psychologist, um, okay, Rabbi.. OY!
Years after graduating from college, having worked in a diverse set of career fields, I now appreciate the link that exists between the law, journalism, psychology and Rabbi profession. It isn’t a spiritual connection so much as it is a link that is rooted in the ability to write, research, listen, communicate, and empathize. Much like an attorney or a paralegal, a Rabbi must be able to synthesize and disseminate text in a coherent and reasoned manner. Like journalists, Rabbi’s must develop a keen sense of their surroundings to discover what questions need to be asked, which stories need to be told, and what people need to be reached. Similar to a psychologist, a Rabbi must possess the wherewithal to become the shoulder to cry on, as well as the fountain of knowledge in times of despair, questioning, peace, and curiosity. In varying degrees of pleasure and competency, I’ve taken on the role of lawyer, journalist, psychologist and Rabbi.
The connection between the law, journalism, psychology and being a Rabbi is not one I would have wrestled with had it not been for my penchant to take career assessment test. Yet, it was in taking one career assessment test after another that I stifled my ability to perceive the common ground between these professions. On a certain level, I was relying on these tests to define who I should be. The function of the career assessment test is not to define who you are, it is to shine a light on your interests and current abilities. Unearthing your passions, your life’s calling, goes beyond shading a bubble on an exam sheet. This task requires quiet introspection followed by thoughtful and deliberate action. It is precisely these steps that’s led me to the truth that I no longer wish to pursue a career in the law, nor am I pursuing a career in psychology. And while I wouldn’t hold out any hope in seeing me preside over a service at the synagogue, I would love to someday write for a living. Time will tell if this is to be. In the interim, I’m steering clear of #2 pencils.
What steps have you taken to unearth your life’s calling?