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What do you want to do when you grow up? It’s a bit of a problem if you’re still asking yourself that when approaching 60. When I was young and fresh (last century), I wanted to be a veterinarian but was talked out of that by my mother. So I did what most rudderless people do: studied art. Then I got a job.
Now the problem with getting a job is that employers will expect instant loyalty and enthusiasm for their brand, irrespective of how inspiring it is. I was willing to give that hoarse cheer when I started in publishing and even more when I opened my own computer company, but when I gave that up to feed my family, I found myself working for banks, insurance companies, and government departments, which, on the whole, I thought the world would be a great deal better off without or could have been run a great deal better..
So I started looking for an organization that I could believe in. Community organizations don’t often pay well but do expect 25-hour days in return. I went back to school and studied media, thinking that there must be something in the world of film, radio, or TV that would ignite that torch inside me. Well, no. But as part of a course called “Global Media,” I was required to write a case study about a media event. I chose an organization that I had always admired—People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) US. My subject? Their Holocaust on Your Plate campaign. As a Jew, I found it confrontational and brilliant because it raised issues of culpability and objectification in a way that could not be ignored. Researching the websites of PETA US’ affiliates for my report, I found that PETA Asia was recruiting. I filled out an application.
Why? Because work is one-third of our lives, and therefore, it is desperately important that the work that we choose be meaningful and fulfilling. Keeping a bank’s computers running was boring, useless, and deadening. Working to save animals from a life of torture and persuading people to improve their health, their environment, and their karma—now that is a job worth loving. The work is important, the people are inspiring and believe what I believe, and the food is, well, heavenly.
Posted by Desmond Bellamy