I was talking to someone the other day about the future. I explained to him that for his future career I would choose something he loved more than something that might pay well. Sometimes you need to choose a stepping stone job you don’t like to get to the one you do. If you are doing a stepping stone job to get to another job just because it pays more and you’ll still hate it, you are doing it wrong.
For the most part I’ve loved my career. I have jobs that look great on resumes even though I loathed them. One fo those jobs a few years ago my wife thought it was going to destroy me. I did have a house payment to make and I had to survive. It was take that job or switch careers entirely. Xie can tell you the difference of the before and after. It took strained me a bit, not because it was a demanding job – it wasn’t demanding and fast paced enough. I am not one to really sit back on his hands. I prefer to be in the thick of things.
I know a few people going back to school. Some are doing it for the passion of it. Some are doing it to make connections. The rest are just trying to make more money or find a job at all. There is nothing wrong for those trying college to attempt to get ahead (though I don’t really believe in the college system). The ones that are doing it and placing themselves in debt for a job that won’t cover the cost in money or time – are just delusional.
They will sit back and attempt to guess at how much they will make if they finish that degree. They choose degrees based not on personal interests, but instead based on hire-ability. These people are going to be as miserable in their career as I was in the job that almost destroyed me. If it isn’t something you love, you should not be looking to do it full-time.
One example I can point to is the people who don’t use computers. This isn’t about the people that never had the time to learn. It isn’t about those that it never crossed their paths. I know plenty of people in the IT world that are great with computers. Some of them do not use computers at all when they are off of work. I’ve known people in the industry for a couple of decades that do not even have a personal email address. I just can’t comprehend this. I can’t think about not using a computer.
This makes me think of the people who go and get a business degree and hate math or politics. Both of those play heavily into the business world. If you hate math, working in a business unit is a bad time. If you can’t stand politics and can’t play them, it’s a tough road climbing a corporate ladder. They will be able to say they got hired right out of graduation and might make 40k a year to start – but at what cost?
If you are not happy with what you do, you have sacrificed the most expensive thing in the world – time. Time is what you use to relax. Time is what you do to have fun. Once gone it can never be recovered. You can’t earn more of it. No matter how much money you make or how little of it you have earned, everyone is fairly equal on the amount of time they have. Even if you become a millionaire you lose if the homeless guy on the street corner has had a more fulfilling life than you have had.
When I went to school my family asked what I planned to do with my music performance degree. I said I didn’t know. They thought I should choose business. My reply was that I would rather be homeless on the street corner playing trumpet than be stuck in a cubicle. I’ve done my fair share of cubicle time, but it was with things I loved – not from what I would have learned from a business degree. So now they don’t have to worry about me, and I’m still doing something that I love more than playing the trumpet. Computers really are my strongest passion.
Without the passion you will never be fulfilled. You can buy toys and large houses, but you will probably be spending over seventeen hundred hours a year hating life and not enjoying it. Is that something you really want to do? Wouldn’t you prefer to live more simply and enjoy life at something that may pay less? If not, which life would you want for your child?