Welcome to your cubicle

You have the rest of your life to find the perfect job; right now you need the money.

Two eyes stare into my window. They are full of mystical knowledge, experience and certainty. There is a neon green sign blinking âÄúpsychic reading.âÄù I contemplate crossing the street. I cannot decide what to do with the rest of my life. Deciding a direction for the rest of your life is daunting, especially considering I canâÄôt decide what I want to eat for dinner half the time. Most people work at least 10 different jobs in their adulthood, but itâÄôs the first one that seems the most important. This is the job that will lead you ahead, give you your first taste of the 40-hour work week, the salary, the sick leave and the benefits. ItâÄôs the one that will take you under its shoulder and show you the reigns of the world. But this might also be the job that will drive you mad, desperately loathing your new post-graduate lifestyle, locked on the seventh floor with a bunch of middle-aged colleagues, confined to your cubicle and a glowing computer screen. Is this where you will live out the rest of your days? Are you doomed to become one of these people? ThatâÄôs what terrifies me. IâÄôm used to the life of a college student, and the biggest leap imaginable is into a steady job. We strive for that steady job; itâÄôs why we stay up all night to cram for a test. But when it becomes a reality, the difference is quite shocking. Not only are you changing your schedule, but you are also changing your lifestyle, your personality, even the way you speak. You are entering the so-called professional world. And in this world, you must act the part. I recently had an interview for one of these full-time jobs. I spent two hours talking myself up to the potential employer. She asked all of those questions you hope they wonâÄôt ask, but I was on fire. I had stories lining the white halls about problem-solving and being a leader. We laughed, I almost cried once, we talked shop, we talked fashion and we bonded. At the end, I was sure she wanted to hire me. As I was escorted to the door, I looked across the quiet office. We passed three vending machines and a lonely conference room. And as we walked, the hallways got narrower, the clomp of my heels was ringing in my ears. I looked down and could barely recognize my torso. It seemed to belong to some business professional, some bore. The womanâÄôs hand reached out and she wore a sadistic smile, as if the whole ordeal was some joke, as if she was shaking my hand to coerce me into hell. The walls were starting to steam so I thanked her and quickly made an escape to the elevator. I hoped to never come back, but I knew that if I wanted money, if I wanted to be employed, this was the first step. Making big decisions is terrifying. ItâÄôs either this or that. Or not this or not that. ItâÄôs a matter of permanence; a direction for your future. When someone asks you the big question, âÄúwhat do you want to do with your life?âÄù The honest answer is the one that seems so unattainable, because what youâÄôd really like to do is to get paid for your hobbies. YouâÄôd like to be paid for travel writing, youâÄôd like to be a photographer for National Geographic, youâÄôd like to decorate homes, youâÄôd like to be a professional shopper, a painter or a novelist. YouâÄôd like to be a professor, a counselor, an adventurer. Well you can, but donâÄôt assume that itâÄôs the first thing youâÄôll do. You have to be realistic. You have the rest of your life to create a career that brings you joy, but first you need stability. You need an income. The psychic didnâÄôt have financial advice, so bring it on cubicle! Ashley Goetz welcomes comments at [email protected]