My name is Kim.

I’m one of the interns working at The Gabriel Institute and this is my last summer before I have to “go big, or go home,” and the last thing I want to do is go home.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents are lovely, and there is something wonderfully comfortable about a place you grew up in for 20 years. However, I come from a small town in Upstate New York, with an even smaller economy. (Not to mention I am also 21 and no longer am amused by the “what time are you going to be home” question.)

From high school well into my college years, finding a summer job was never a problem. All the restaurants were seasonal, and loved if you were only looking to work May through August. But those are restaurant jobs, and I decided to go to school for Communications and Journalism, not restaurant management.

One of my good friends (who lives in Philadelphia) was listening to me whine one day about not wanting to work in a restaurant all summer: how it wouldn’t get me ahead for graduation next year; how my internship in Washington D.C. fell through; how there was no one hiring interns back home, and an entire list of other things I was dreading about the summer. His only response was “Come live with me in Philly.”

Within days I decided to do it; to turn into a grownup and move out. I packed my bags and drove five hours with nothing but determination to make it the most fun and productive summer ever. It was my time to “go big.”

When I moved down here two months ago I had nothing. I knew a handful of people. I was sharing a room with my friend, and barely had a dresser-sized space in the closet in which to put all of my belongings.

I was unhappy with my money situation, my professional inexperience, and my living quarters. So I did something about it.

My determination for a job or internship was first on my to-do list. I put a few applications in at some restaurants, figuring it would be a very good plan B. I then signed up with an internship search website (www.internships.com) and within days had an interview for The Gabriel Institute in center city.

Two of the restaurants called me back for interviews, one of which I accepted.

I took some down time from job searching (praying both interviews would follow through) to see an old friend from my freshman year of college. She mentioned that one of her roommates just moved out and they were looking for someone to fill the spot to keep rent down. Bingo! A week and a half in Philly and things were going my way.

So now, two months later, I live with three people, two of whom are strangers, and one who is a gross slob, but I have my own space for when I need it. I didn’t originally want to work in another restaurant, but I have made a ton of new friends that I hang out with on a regular basis, and it’s great money. My internship is unpaid, but I enjoy the work and it’s giving me something wonderful to put on my resume, and I like it.

So in hindsight I’d say I did pretty well.

The point is folks; there are always ups and downs. You can never have EVERYTHING that you want, and you can never be completely satisfied with everything in your life. The difference between people who succeed in this world and those who don’t can be as simple as reorganizing and changing your situation until the only “bad” things are the little things.

Make your “big picture” one that you can stand to look at every day.

Like all other conversations at The Gabriel Institute, the topic of my impending departure for life on the high seas came full circle back to RBA.  While the average person might have thought of Blackbeard or that episode of Family Guy in which Stewie imagines his musical life on deck, Dr. J’s mind went straight to 15th century Italy.  Leave it to a Founder to take things in a different direction.

According to the good doctor, Renaissance Italy offered few vocational choices.  You either went to work on a ship, raised livestock, or spent your days stomping grapes.  So if you’re Christopher Columbus, and you aren’t feeling the sheep or the stained socks, you hop on board the first ship that’s hiring.  The sailors who were actually good would likely have been Explorers, had they taken RBA.  Considering the 7,790 miles (thanks Google) that separate America and India, it seems likely that Chris’ Role wasn’t such a good fit for his occupation.  Then again, with only three career options and ten Roles, there were bound to be a few people who weren’t exactly at home in their jobs.

Taking our imaginary DeLorean back to the year 2009, we find that there are millions of careers to choose from.  This difficult decision can be made easier by determining your Role, and thereby ensuring that you don’t end up in America, when you should’ve been in Italy all along making wine with your feet (figuratively speaking, of course).

The unemployment rate isn’t improving, it’s getting worse, especially for 20-somethings.  The headline article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer,  Recession a Roadblock for Young Careers, cites 14% in the Philadelphia metro area as opposed to the overall national rate of 9.4.  Worse, unemployment among younger workers is rising at a faster rate than the overall rate.  And that doesn’t include newly-minted MBAs and newly-barred attorneys working as baristas.

So, for a great deal of people, especially those in their 20s, there will be three options for ‘job choice’:

  1. Do nothing. (This is also known as ‘live off your parents’.)
  2. Do something you really don’t want to do but that is in an industry that is hiring workers.
  3. Find some other people who want to do something, even if they don’t know what that is, and start dreaming something up.

It may take a few iterations before you get the team right, but it’s a start.  At the very least, you’ll have a story about exploring a new business to tell the next person who interviews you for a job you really want.