Congrats, you’ve been accepted to business school! Perhaps some well-meaning individual told you that getting in was the hardest part, and the next two years will be one constant stream of happy hours and tailgates. I’m not calling that person a liar, but, uh… No, wait. I’m calling that person a liar.
It’s not just the lack of sleep, the inability to talk without using phrases like “economies of scale” and “market segmentation,” or that nagging sense of inadequacy. The hardest part of business school is the constant pressure to get the interview, the internship, and the job offer for THE CAREER OF YOUR DREAMS! Ideally, said career satisfies your deepest yearnings for meaning and fulfillment along with a great salary, handsome signing bonus and glorious perks. No sweat, right?
Sure, you thought everything through when you wrote your application essays. You know exactly what you’re going to do with your MBA down to the C-Suite title on your business cards. And then a few weeks into the program, you’re sitting in a career development workshop when it hits you. You have no idea what you want to do with your life.
I call it Purpose Anxiety.
Purpose Anxiety is the complete inability to settle on a path for your life out of the fear that you will be somehow unfulfilled. Students with Purpose Anxiety struggle with question like, Is this job really “me”? What if I choose Career A but would be much better at Career B? Am I willing to give up my lifestyle for better pay? Is this job meaningful enough? Am I making a positive impact on the world?
If you’re experiencing Purpose Anxiety, don’t worry. A moderate amount of Purpose Anxiety is completely normal and even desirable as a motivational tool. If you experience mild to severe indigestion due to Purpose Anxiety, see a career counselor immediately. If Purpose Anxiety persists for more than three months, quit thinking immediately and go into consulting.
Or you could just read this Forbes article, 20 Ways to Find Your Calling.
(While you’re at it, could you please let me know if you find mine??)