The Job Discrepancy

For those who read the Finance post, it’s been withdrawn put on the back burner.  Switching topics already? Yup. We’re jumping from the finance ship to pursuing meaning in our careers.  Why am I doing this?  Well, I figure that there are tons of blogs out there talking about getting out of debt.  And well… I thought this area would be more pertinent to those reading this.   So with that out of the way, it’s time we talked about the discrepancies between the norms and what pioneers in the new generation are doing.

It wasn’t too long ago where the equation was as follows: High School Degree –> College –> Job –> Retirement.  I mean, you just had to walk out of college with a degree and you were pretty much handed a degree.  Not only did you get a job, but people back then were content with just about any job and stayed with it the rest of the years because it simply “paid the bills.”

These types of jobs would fall into the category I call “Railroad Track Careers” (RTC).  Like a railroad track, the course is set in motion and there is little question as to whether or not you’ll go completely off course.  I mean sure, sometimes the train runs off the rails and freak accidents happen; but for the most part, people on this career are going in some general direction.  Other RTCs include people who have the capability to become the professionals we are all so familiar with: doctors, lawyers, engineers, and so on.

Not too many people end up falling in that category however.  I mean think about it, did you ever wonder how people become “Director of Undergraduate Admissions” or a “Program Coordinator for Student Government Association?”  I mean surely, these people didn’t run around as kids pretending to be these kind of positions did they?  Most would say no if I’m not mistaken, which means the REST of the jobs fall into what I call “Wild West Careers” (WWC).  These are the careers that people fall into (whether on purpose or by accident) as they go about life.  There is no set path, but simply a test of the survival of the fittest.

Now people might be like, what about like artists and musicians?  They technically have known all their lives that they want to do those things.  So aren’t they technically RTCs?  I would argue that with the exception of the few who are groomed from birth and have celebrities guiding them throughout, that is not the case.  There is a certain mystery about how people manage to end up in the roles they are in.  Some say luck, others say fate.  Either way, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make sense of it all.

Now am I saying there’s anything wrong with RTCs?  Absolutely not.  It works for some people, but at the same time I know there are a lot of people like me who don’t really make the cut for the professional positions nor want to settle for some job they landed out of college.  I mean seriously…. let’s take a look at the facts shall we?

  1. People aren’t just handed out jobs when they get out of college anymore.  This is now more of the exception than the norm.  There are those who manage to get internships and are converted over to full time, but with the economy the way it is, sometimes budgetary constraints don’t permit that conversion even though the hiring manager would honestly like to hire the student.
  2. For the first time in a while, students and graduates alike no longer have this set confined path.  In the past, deviating from simply accepting a job and moving onto the other milestones in life (e.g., marriage, kids, etc) was far from the norm.  In today’s time though, the tough economy has left a lot of students and graduates with the question, “What the hell do I do now that the system has failed?”
  3. The much explored job market has now become the wild west, and is no longer the railroad track it used to be.  While the job market may be saturated with overly qualified candidates who are vying for positions like secretary and administrative assistants, many people are starting to come up with new and novel ways to make money.  In other words, a fresh new wave of entrepreneurs and self-drive people are going out to truly make their own living.  With the lack of a system and/or equation handing us careers, how can we fulfill our financial obligations while staying true to who we are?
Please feel free to chime in and give your thoughts on the matter!  Feedback is super appreciated!
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