Years ago I realized I was repeating the same patterns over and over again. I'd try really hard to identify a new job or career, and once I started working, I'd hate it. While the jobs were prestigious--I started out as an NBC Page, worked at KNBC news for three years, then became the Arts and Antiques Editor for Architectural Digest magazine and so forth and so on--I didn't feel the work was meaningful. So, I'd quit and seek out the next opportunity.
Even after my first book, Job Search Strategy for College Grads, was published, I didn't feel satisfied. Maybe it was the topic of the book or perhaps it was my concern that I was a "one book author," but I constantly worried about finding my "life's work."
In retrospect, what was so distressing about the process, was that once again I felt like I was the only person who was having these problems. Every place I worked, everyone else seemed to like what they were doing far better than I did. No one else ever said, "Gee, I think this is a waste of my time. Surely I was born to do something more important than this."
It was just like being in college all over again. None of my other friends transferred to another university because they were unhappy. No one ever said, "Why am I in college if I don't know what I want to major in?" None of them ever quit college for a year to travel in Europe and then work for a presidential campaign.
It seemed like I spent my life with people who either knew what they wanted to do, found meaning in environments I found meaningless, or never asked themselves the important questions: Why am I here? How can I contribute?
All these years later, I'm sorry my path was so difficult and strewn with so many depressive episodes. But I'm quite certain that I wouldn't have been happy if I had walked through life with blinders or sought money and prestige rather than meaning.
As difficult as things were, I wouldn't be who I am today if I hadn't continued to search for the answers to my questions. My pain and suffering might have been mitigated. I might not have had to fight existential demons. But I never would have found the light at the end of the tunnel.