jobs today 2016

jobs today 2016

there are only two things i can tell you todaythat come with absolutely no agenda. the first is “congratulations.” the second is “goodluck.” everything else is what i like to call, “the dirty truth,” which is justanother way of saying, “it’s my opinion.” and in my opinion, you have all been givensome terrible advice, and that advice, is this: follow your passion. every time i watch the oscars, i cringe whensome famous movie star—trophy in hand—starts to deconstruct the secret of their’s always the same thing: “don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have whatit takes, kid!”; and the ever popular, “never give up on your dreams!”

look, i understand the importance of persistence,and the value of encouragement, but who tells a stranger to never give up on their dreams,without even knowing what it is they’re dreaming? i mean, how can lady gaga possibly knowwhere your passion will lead you? have these people never seen american idol? year after year, thousands of aspiring americanidols show up with great expectations, only to learn that they don’t possess the skillsthey thought they did. what’s really amazing though, is not theirlack of talent—the world is full of people who can’t sing. it’s their genuine shockat being rejected—the incredible realization that their passion and their ability had nothingto do with each other.

look, if we’re talking about your hobby,by all means let your passion lead you. but when it comes to making a living, it’seasy to forget the dirty truth: just because you’re passionate about something doesn’tmean you won’t suck at it. and just because you’ve earned a degreein your chosen field, doesn't mean you’re gonna find your “dream job.” dream jobs are usually just that—dreams. but their imaginary existence just might keepyou from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and developa genuine passion for the job you already have. because here’s another dirty truth:your happiness on the job

has very little to do with the work itself. on dirty jobs, i remember a very successfulseptic tank cleaner, a multi-millionaire, who told me the secret to his success: “i looked around to see where everyone elsewas headed,” he said, "and then i went the opposite way. then i got good at my work.then i began to prosper. and then one day, i realized i was passionate about other people’scrap.” i’ve heard that same basic story from welders,plumbers, carpenters, electricians, hvac professionals, hundreds of other skilled tradesmen who followedopportunity—not passion—and prospered as a result. consider the reality of the current job market.

right now, millions of people with degreesand diplomas are out there competing for a relatively narrow set of opportunities thatpolite society calls “good careers.” meanwhile, employers are struggling to fill nearly 5.8million jobs that nobody’s trained to do. this is the skills gap, it’s real, and itscause is actually very simple: when people follow their passion, they miss out on allkinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed. when i was 16, i wanted to follow in my grandfather’sfootsteps. he was a skilled tradesman who could build a house without a blueprint. thatwas my passion, and i followed it for years. i took all the shop classes at school, i didall i could to absorb the knowledge and skill that came so easily to my granddad.

unfortunately, the handy gene is skipped right over me, and i struggled mightily to overcome my deficiencies. buti couldn’t. i was one of those contestants on american idol, who believed his passionwas enough to ensure his success. one day, i brought home a sconce i had madein wood-shop that looked like a paramecium. after a heavy sigh, my granddad gave me thebest advice i’ve ever received. he told me, "mike, you can still be a tradesman, butonly if you get yourself a different kind of toolbox." at the time, this felt contrary to everythingi believed about the importance of "passion" and persistence and "staying the course."but of course, he was right. because “staying the course” only makes sense if you’reheaded in a sensible direction.

and while passion is way too important tobe without, it is way too fickle to follow around. which brings us to the final dirty truth.“never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.” congratulations, again - and good luck. i’m mike rowe from mikeroweworks, for prageruniversity.


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jobs today 2016