Career Choices: Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Ideals

As a videographer/photographer who stopped worked within the same organization after a year passed, I frequently have bouts where I hope to follow my own unorthodox path as an artist; completely unbound by anyone else. I love making music and creating visual effects, but money is important! Like many others I find myself jumping between my extrinsic and intrinsic ideals.

Through my experience the common belief is that a steady job brings steady pay, and hopefully intrinsic happiness comes with it. I am soon to graduate from college, following my dad’s ideals as I work towards finding a new job within a company, while my brother continues living with intrinsic career choices that intensely focus on his personal drive. After my brother graduated he immediately went to California, throwing jobs from Physics and Electrical Engineering degrees out the window, working with an oddball startup idea on his own instead. He did whatever it took to work to immediately satisfy an abnormal lifestyle- hoping to work outside traditional 9-5pm business hours to successfully work with his intrinsic values, but this was not what may be considered a successful career path.

Not many empirical studies are reliable when it comes to intrinsic career success. Ruth Bridgstock, a research fellow within Queensland University of Technology, formed a case study exclaiming that students who embody the idea of a “protean careerist” (one who is intrinsically motivated and engaging in self-directed career behavior) experience better career outcomes than those who do not. (17) However, her case study limits participants to only those in two universities, with a select number only residing in creative industry categories that are not reliable/all encompassing/generalized. It also only focuses on data taken on students a year after graduation. My brother coded a lot after college and failed to gain real footing within his first year working with his intrinsic ideologies. It wasn’t until he transitioned to playing soccer where he began to see success in his career choices, and his success did not come from what may be deemed as “creative industries.”

As I examine my dad’s career path, there is nothing but stability and balance in his life; lots of post-graduate work, and extensive work in multiple companies. Everything is part of one career trajectory. He enjoyed work mainly after getting through the nitty-gritty stuff, cementing himself in higher hierarchical roles. He satisfies other hobbies such as music on the side, whereas my brother contemplated becoming a full-on musician with me.

Frequently my reality of having career success as a “protean” person with intrinsic ideals shifts, but I do not perceive myself moving away from a traditional career path any time soon. As of now, I do not yearn to strongly deviate from the norm. I had opportunities to form bizarre connections and create lots of interesting highlight reels for semi-professional soccer players, but I turned them down. I originally had lots of simple music video ideas I could have made for students in Berklee College of Music and a few Nashua-based bands who wanted them… but nope. Perhaps in a few years I may fully commit myself to becoming a musician with my brother, but for right now that is not something I prioritize. As of now my focus is in a niche area of visual effects. It is easy to see myself applying to work in a professional VFX company, becoming part of a hierarchy; However, I stay open to the future and what it brings. With technology constantly changing, who knows where visual effects may go, and what future may come with it.

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