Stop Looking for the “Right” Career and Start Looking for a JobAugust 4th, 2014 · 33 comments
A Reality Check from Mike Rowe
Mike Rowe and I agree that “follow your passion,” as a piece of advice, tends to make people more unhappy about their working life.
A reader named Steve recently pointed me toward a hilarious and yet profoundly relevant example of Rowe articulating this position.
Allow me to set the scene…
Rowe receives a piece of fan mail that opens as follows: “I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do.”
Rowe then responds. In his response, he explains, without apology, exactly why this complaint is dumb.
I won’t spoil the whole thing (you can read the original letter and Rowe’s full reply here), but I do want to point your attention to my favorite paragraph:
Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
In my opinion, you could substitute the above suggestions for just about any commencement address that was given this past spring, and the students would have ended up much better prepared for the real world.
Well said, Mike.