Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Work You Love

As a homeschool student I have never had a "career counselor." I never went to a job fair, or anything like that. Just like my other schooling, my foray into the work force is a self-directed, self-motivated area of life. My parents haven't really been pushing me to decide what I want to be when I grow up, but I have been wrestling with the question for many months. 

Since I started thinking about future careers I've begun to think seriously about what my passions and skills are. I don't want to end up like so many people I hear about who seem mired in a dead-end, pleasure-less career. So thank God I heard about the incomparable Dan Miller, whose amazing podcast has revolutionized the way I look at employment! 

Do you enjoy your job? Since listening to Dan I've realized that many people don't. They just get into a company when they're young, become used to the salary, try to ignore the headaches and lack of enjoyment, and concentrate on simply "earning a living." I know that it can be hard to support a family in this economy, but really, if it were possible, wouldn't you rather make money doing something you're passionate about? I would. 

Dan is always coming up with fantastic business ideas (I'll bet the guy could develop 16 business plans on the way to the Post Office.). If you're curious, here's a link to 48 of them. It is truly inspiring to hear dozens of non-traditional (and completely successful) ways of making money, all based on people's unique gifts and interests. My mom has already come up with several ideas for my future career, simply from thinking outside-the-box as a result of listening to the podcast!

Up until recently I've been extremely hesitant about plunging into a college major. I've been getting the general requirements under control before studying more specific courses, but the time is coming when I'll have to "declare my major" and officially enroll in some college. 

I've been scared of that.

Now that I'm learning more and more about what the changing job market actually looks like, though, I've become much more confident. Here are a few things that Dan has helped me discover:

  • Most high schoolers do not know what they want their future career to be! 
  • Ten years after graduation, 80 percent of college graduates are working in something totally unrelated to their college major. And that's OK! 
  • Dan likes to say that you can do whatever you want during the first fifty years. After that, take stock, evaluate, and launch into the best two decades of your life.
I'm beginning to realize that the world doesn't depend on my college major. Maybe it will be English, maybe History, maybe Business, maybe even Hospitality. What matters is what I will learn going through these studies, not the kind of my degree printed on a diploma.

So I guess all of this goes to say that I'm growing and learning, and I want anyone who reads this to realize what I've realized - you can work at something you love! You don't have to be trapped flipping hamburgers for the sake of earning a little money. 

By doing something you are enthusiastic about, you can knock it out of the park with money, success, and joy.

1 comment:

  1. I think another thing to consider...well, at least that I've been considering, is whether to fully plunge into a career anyway. I mean, what if you get married, and end up staying at home and not working? Are all those college bills for nothing? Is it smarter to study nothing to specific as an undergrad, so just in case something else pops up, you'll be ready - without too much debt?

    Lately, I've been thinking that what I want to do is study Biology at college, and then study it more specifically in graduate school - so I can pursue my research passion and get a job working in some lab. That would turn out to be a great job, doing something I love and that's exciting, but it also requires A LOT of school - and I'm sure a lot of money too. And if I get married, I wouldn't be able to work full weeks anyway. I could work part-time, but I don't even know if I can get the kind of job I think I want doing only that.

    Its so confusing, knowing the future. Everyone wants you to plan on college and figure something out. And I'm still here trying to find out if I really want to pursue Biology. I have many other interests. After I've worked so hard through high school, should I change things just like that??

    Sorry for rambling, but this post just made me think harder about what I've been thinking about a lot now that I'm a junior.

    ~Liz B


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