I like to peruse the internet for interesting articles occasionally. I'm a big fan of Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs". He's real and smart and funny.
After reading this post I'm an even bigger fan. I immediately thought of you Juniors and Seniors. You're about to step out into the adult world. It can be brutal out here and, let's face it, I'm sure your expectations are high. You've been told to 'DREAM BIG', that , 'You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to', you're millenials. You're generation was the generation that ALL got trophies for participation. Wether you won or not. You were taught that bullying is wrong (which it is) but let's face it, it's unavoidable sometimes. Even in the adult world you will find yourself the subject of unfair criticism by someone who is using you to make themselves feel better... could be your boss, your professor, even friends and family members at times. It's a tough world out there and you won't get a trophy just for showing up.
You're not gonna leave college and head for your dream job. You've got some work to do. Some dirty, sweaty, boring, underpaid work to do. But it's good for you! It'll make you appreciate that kooshie corner office that much more. I promise.
In Mike's not he's replying to a guy who's asking him where he can find the illusive 'dream job'. What Mike points out is that his list of 'must haves' and 'non negotiables' for this job, is a tad unreasonable. He's basically telling him the job you want doesn't exist pal! You need to broaden your horizons.
Remember this guys...
I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.
“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”
“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”
“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”
“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”
“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over - maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”
“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters...?”
She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”
Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!
I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?
Consider your own words. You don’t want a career - you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn't exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you "happy."
These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you - especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked...
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.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.
Good luck -