My Spinning Arrow: Self-realization is Good Work

In Disney’s Pocahontas, Pocahontas has a dream about a spinning arrow and she doesn’t know where it would lead her.  In the end, that spinning arrow from her dream is a literal compass with a spinning arrow that figuratively points to John Smith and saving him from being executed for the accused crime of killing Kocoum.  If you ask me what I want to do after receiving my undergraduate degree, my answer is not as definite as it was when I first began my 4 year journey of late nights and stress tears, and this is where my spinning arrow comes in.

The vision of my future is a blurry.  The only definite thing I know I want is a cat that I’m not allergic to.  As a Film and New Media studies major, there is not one definite path I can see myself launch into, and the choice is left up to me in deciding which career trajectory I want to take.  It’s even harder when I hear people say that undergraduate degrees don’t determine the rest of your life.

According to David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker in their book, Creative Labor, they say that “[a] number of our interviewees indicated a high degree of self-realization through work by indicating that their occupation involved talents or enthusiasms from their childhood” (141).  As Hesmondhalgh and Baker described earlier in Creative Labor, self-realization is “fundamental to any definition of good work” (140) and “its origins in translations of Hegelian ideas about Humanity’s historical achievement of its own potential, and has come to refer to ‘the fulfilment by one’s own efforts of the possibilities of development of the self’ “(33).

I have found out what I’ve liked to do so far through my work study jobs.  Currently I am working in Academic Advising as an office assistant and I’m working as a clubs and activities intern at the Student Activities Life and Involvement office.  Both of these jobs require me to think creatively to help students on campus as well as to use social media to reach out to them.  I believe that through these jobs, I realized what I enjoy doing.  Through these two jobs I received my self-realization in a way.

I said that I still don’t know what I want to do after graduation earlier in this post, and yes whilst that is true, I have around three different directions I want to go into, through my work experiences.  Marketing, student affairs, and a possibly graduate school for a Library and Science degree, concentrating on digital archival.  Though working on campus as a student may sometimes be monotonous, it helped me understand myself a little and that means I had a self-realization.  In the creative labor, one must constantly evolve with the world and through this job, I evolved in a way that was good, hence it’s connection to good work.

However, when does this work stop being good and become bad and do harm?  When does self-actualization become a reality, and I understand my potential to do more, and to do something different?  Would there be a time where I realize that I should have chosen differently?  Where will my spinning arrow point to?

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