| Photo by Abhi Sharma via Flickr/Commons CC BY 2.0
Choosing a college major was not easy for me. Since there was so much pressure to find a good-paying job right after college, I decided to take Accounting. I thought this would be one way of getting close to lots of cash or at least counting them for someone.
During the first semester, however, I was miserable. Working on those balance sheets, and plenty of them did it for me. Although I did not know what I really wanted, I knew for sure I did not want Accounting. I settled for a more nebulous but intellectually stimulating course: Philosophy. It was a leap of faith, hoping that if I knew myself and understood life better, I’d become successful in life.
Little did I know that it would turn out to be a life-changing decision. I enjoyed my small class of like-minded students, most of whom shared a common interest. The coursework was so stimulating that I didn’t have time to worry about what job or profession I would land after graduation. I was happy, and that was what mattered. It took me a whole year to have the courage to tell my mother I wouldn’t be an accountant after all. At first, she was worried I would be jobless after college, but I reassured her that I would be a generalist in life, “a jack of all trades and master of none.” I also told her I would be able to teach in college, which seemed to pacify her.
Majoring in Philosophy had an important influence in shaping my attitude and perspective in life. I became more open to new experiences and welcomed challenges. Life became a big learning experience. I was persistent when solving complex problems or dealing with complicated situations. I realized that failure and success are learning opportunities. I now believe that it wasn’t only the knowledge but also the discipline and attitude I acquired in those four years of college that helped me later in life. They helped me with whatever work I did.
“Majoring in Philosophy had an important influence in shaping my attitude and perspective in life. I became more open to new experiences and welcomed challenges. Life became a big learning experience. I was persistent when solving complex problems or dealing with complicated situations. I realized that failure and success are learning opportunities.”
Making money or lots of cash became a secondary motivating factor in my early life. Instead, I placed more emphasis on self-fulfillment. Whenever I find my job dull, I will always come up with ways to make it interesting and challenging. Self-actualization is a powerful motivating force in whatever I do.
Interestingly, I find that it is the attitude I bring to my work that pleases my employers. Because I get along with them quite well, they allow me more freedom to experiment and try new things, thereby enhancing my need for self-actualization and improving my productivity.
Philosophy is an excellent field to prepare anyone in the world of work. It allows one to find personal values and what one considers necessary in life. Work becomes more than a source of livelihood but a means for finding and actualizing one’s self.
I’m sure my colleagues who are themselves accomplished professionals, or should I say “philosophers,” would find little reason to disagree with what I said.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. Fernando B. Perfas is an addiction specialist who has written several books and articles on the subject. He currently provides training and consulting services to various government and non-government drug treatment agencies regarding drug treatment and prevention approaches. He can be reached at email@example.com.