Written by Rabbi Jacob Rupp, senior rabbi at the Jewish Awareness Movement at UCLA.
Contemporary research reveals that millennials, more than ever before, want to find a job that is fulfilling. Gone are the days that we work for the paycheck — now we work for a cause or a calling, and get paid as a result. It is phenomenal that people long to express themselves more in their 9-5, but the question is, will the workforce change radically as a result?
Entrepreneurs have the ability to make a departure from the way things were always done. Success lies in imagining a different way to solve a problem and not following the curve. However, because of our reliance upon social media platforms and our almost (OK, total) connection to technology, it is becoming harder and harder to discern which ideas are our own and which are beamed into us. Shockingly, most of what we think, feel and experience has less to do with us and more to do with the world around us.
So while we may want personal fulfillment in our work, it becomes increasingly unclear who “we” are. Please don’t fall for the line that you figure out your life by the end — or middle — of college. Having long graduated, I’m still (proudly) in an active process of figuring out where I want to be in life. We shouldn’t be ashamed to not know where we stand.
Abraham changed the world as an old man who dared to be different. Our introduction to him in this week’s Torah portion is G-d telling this old, status-quo-defying man to leave the life he knows and reexamine his ideals, from the grandiose to the minute. It is not enough to be great or innovative once. You’re not supposed to figure out what you want to do in life only while you’re in college because then you effectively stop living. Personal growth is a slow, organic process. The famous sage Rabbi Nachman of Breslov said that without daily self evaluation, you simply lose yourself and your purpose.
Our famous revolutionary forefather, Abraham, taught this eternal lesson: history and greatness are not made by the strong, the mighty, or the rich; they are made by the those with enough confidence to never stop growing.
This article is part of Ha’Am’s new Friday Taste of Torah column. Each week, a different UCLA community member will contribute some words of Jewish wisdom in preparation for Shabbat.