It’s no secret that it’s difficult to enter the job market. If anything, it’s probably the hardest it has been for recent graduates in a while considering the lacklustre economy and the number of baby boomers still in the workforce. It can be discouraging, and recent graduates (or actually anyone looking for a job) might wonder what the best career move is to find a steady job to sustain some kind of life.
A few days ago, not looking for anything in particular, I stumbled across a YouTube video, then another, then another and so on. I had an epiphany and came to realize Warren Buffett, Donald Trump, Jack Welch and Suze Orman all had the same sort of career advice: You have to find a career you’re passionate about and stick with it, regardless of how it pays. Why? Because employers love and often promote people with passion.
There’s another element to that advice as well. If you enter a career you’re genuinely interested in, it makes it far easier to rise through the ranks compared to a job you took just because you think the pay is better. If you choose to jump ship to something else just for the pay, you’ll likely fall flat on your face because if you lack passion you likely won’t move anywhere on the career ladder. There’s not only that, but you could also be miserable at that supposedly higher paying job, taking the overall quality of your life down with it.
So, we all know it’s brutal out there, and you may have considered going back to school in hopes of opening more job opportunities; however, chances are that’s a bad idea. Suze Orman of CNBC’s Suze Orman Show said on CBS News Sunday Morning one of the biggest mistakes you could make regarding your career is putting yourself into debt to study something else you’re not even sure about because you just can’t find a job. She didn’t spend too much time on specifics, but one reason is obvious: How are you going to pay for that education? Suze said you shouldn’t go into more debt when you don’t have an income, and considering the piece of paper that is your diploma or degree is usually expensive, ridiculously expensive, you could put yourself in a lot of trouble if you take on student loans. Think about it, you might spend the rest of your life paying for it, because get this, another degree under your belt doesn’t absolutely, 100 per cent guarantee a job. Who knows, when you get that diploma or degree you might end up exactly where you are now—without a job, but now you have a nightmarish amount of debt to pay off. Yikes. Let’s say even if you get a decent job, student loans can take a big bite out of your income.
So what if you found something that you want to do for the rest of your life and you have been working hard at trying to break into an industry, but it’s not going anywhere. Sorry to break it to you, but an element of finding a career you want (opposed to just any old job) is simply patience, and it can take a while to get there.
Suze Orman explained this concept during her PBS special Young, Fabulous and Broke with her story of Lauren, a recent college grad who wanted to be a shoe designer. Lauren sent out application after application to everyplace she could and heard nothing back. Then Lauren nearly took a job as a toy designer because it paid well and she just didn’t want to be a waitress anymore. Suze, however, said not to take the job because it wasn’t what Lauren said she was looking for. A few months later Lauren found a job as a shoe designer but the pay wasn’t great. Suze told her to work hard, really hard to demonstrate that she truly cared about what she did. A few months later, Lauren was promoted and raking in the cash. Now she had her dream job AND the money to live the life she wanted. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
It sure does to me, but playing devil’s advocate here, there maybe some flaws in their advice to stick with looking for a career that you’re truly interested in.
Firstly, the job market isn’t an endless stream of jobs that are held back just because you don’t want them bad enough—there’s supply and demand. Some industries might have more applicants than jobs in compared to others. So, supposedly showing how passionate you are about your job will bring you to the top of the pool, but what if there are still more passionate people than there are jobs? What if you get lost in the mix with the slew of other applicants? If there are hundreds of people applying to one job, what are the chances of a hiring manager reading every last application? Perhaps they might go with the first handful they come across that they like and chuck the others even though someone in the applications they ignored maybe more qualified than the people they selected from the first few applications. That’s one obstacle in the way.
Second, to find a job you have to invest a lot of time and money, which is a bit of a catch-22 because to get money you need a job. So, you might have to take a job you don’t want to have the money to go to job interviews, to have internet access to conduct the job search, then the job you have to get by cuts into the time you can devote to finding your career. That complicates matters.
Third, people can take advantage of your passion. You hear of interns on the news who work for free or next to nothing because they want to get into the industry only to be thrown onto the street. Then there are the stories of other interns who work themselves to death, literally. So if you wind up working for free for people who simply want to take advantage of your passion, you could be working yourself into the ground for nothing.
So their advice to stay the course and find the career of your dreams isn’t the one fix-it solution for your employment woes—there are quite a few other elements at play. Still finding something you’re passionate about and working towards a career in that field is a damn good place to start. I think we’ve all learned by now that nothing in life comes easy, and I’m sure that’s certainly the case with finding the perfect career. So keep at it, be relentless and when you’ve been discouraged and want to give up—don’t. That might just mean you have to tweak your plan, or find alternate ways to get to your goal. Perhaps that means starting a blog and deciding to “blog harder” than everyone else, or heading back to the drawing board. Just don’t lose that drive, that passion that gives you a reason to get up in a morning or else you’ve made things a lot harder on yourself.