Take a Walk on the Wild Side

There’s a certain way one ought to live one’s life. Or at least that’s what many of us are taught to believe.

Finish high school, go to college. Get a job, find a career. Perhaps also get married, buy a house, and have children. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Social expectations are, perhaps, the biggest driver for following this standard path. But there are other incentives, too.

After all, the journey of life doesn’t end there and the other side of the spectrum demands attention as well: save for retirement, pay off the mortgage, care for your parents, put your kids through school –

Even if you’re not looking for a mansion in the Hollywood hills, the stability of a middle class lifestyle requires a commitment to middle class norms. Deviating from the path – intentionally taking a step backwards or even laterally can be scary.

That’s not the way the story is supposed to go, and it opens a risk for future financial instability.

The great irony here is that by and large, folks in the middle class enjoy great privilege – they have flexibility and a power over their lives that working class and poor folks can only dream of.

And yet the structures of middle class life can feel confining, as though once you’ve started on a path you must remain committed to it.

The days of a lifetime at one company are long gone, with job-hopping the new norm.

But there’s an even newer trend, I think, slowly emerging among my age cohort: career-hopping.

Because the truth is, you’re not locked into a job or even into a career: pick up and move to Europe if you want to.

There’s no path you have to follow; you make the rules.


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