Archive | November 2011

“Should you accept a job you don’t want?”

To most people, the answer is probably pretty straight forward: “If you don’t have a job, you accept whatever comes to your doorstep!”  And to the majority, I don’t blame you for reducing the rationale of answering that question to a one step statement.  The fact of the matter is however, that a person should consider a variety of factors before simply saying “yes” to any employer who waves a job offer in his/her face.

I recognize that in these difficult economic times, it seems that while jobs seem to be available to apply to, job offers simply are harder to come by.  You might think that I’m crazy, but let’s not take my word alone shall we?  Our second opinions for today’s post comes from “Should you accept a job you don’t want” by Sonia Acosta.

#1. The Pigeon Hole

I get it.  You don’t have a job.  Any job seems lucrative at this point.  But hang on there, the question I pose to you is this: “Do you have a dream job that you’re trying to get?”  If you have no idea right now, feel free to move on to the next points.  But if you are, think about the fact that more and more positions these days are asking for X years of experience in the field of interest.  If you get pigeon holed in a dead end career with no chance of transition, what chance do you think you’ll have of ever getting your dream job at age 30 and 7 years of experience in a career you don’t give a shit about?

The Exception: If the job you’re taking (e.g., Customer Service Representative) can help you leapfrog into other positions due to networking and semi-relevant tasks to the field you want, then by all means, take the job.

#2.  Burning Bridges

Acosta brings up a great point here regarding the fact that you don’t want to burn bridges.  As she states, companies invest a lot of money in bringing new employees up to speed (e.g., training and other employees’ time) and are looking for at least a two year commitment.   If you think you’re going to leaving within a few months, I’d reconsider taking the job since it would just end up being a bad mark on your record.   Plus, employers talk to each other more than we’re aware of, imagine if your the hiring manager for your dream job knew the company you left abruptly.   Bad karma.

The Exception: It’s true.  Sometimes we do end up in a position where we’ve only been at a job for a short period of time and we miraculously are offered our dream job.  In that case, while it isn’t the most ideal situation, you have to leave and pursue your goals.  It’s your life after all.  No one is going to give you any brownie points for giving up your dream so some people wouldn’t be mildly offended.

#3. Affordability

Why did I wait till the last point to deal with the one everyone is probably protesting about when I say to not take any job even if your jobless?  The answer is because it’s just not as simple as “needing money.”   Acosta brings up the point that if the job is extremely intensive and your entire life is thrown out of balance because the 40 hour job actually requires 60 hours and pays you on a salary basis with no bonus potential, it might not be worth it.  There are many factors that come into play when accepting a job, and you have to weigh all the variables when making your decision.  After all, why accept a job to support a life that you don’t find is worth living?

The Exception: If you have a family that your supporting (and particularly kids), you absolutely must take whatever job comes your way.  I don’t care if your dream job is being a computer technician and all that’s available to you is a job where you stare at oranges to ensure that the juice comes from concentration.  Your duty is to your family.  (I’m not proposing that you give up on your dream, but you’ll need to take a different route than the one I’m suggesting in this post.  More on this at another time).

Fact of the matter is that there is no clear cut answer to whether you should take a job (unless you are the bread winner for your family, to which I reiterate that you take whatever comes your way).  Although it may be tough to stomach turning down a job, try and remember the big picture and the long term effects that come with rash or poor decisions made out of desperation.

If anyone would like me to help weigh in on a decision like the one we discussed today (or any others for that matter), feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email and I’d be more than happy to help out.

Thanksgiving 2011

So in lieu of the Thanksgiving and the fact that every blog writes about what we all should be thankful for, I think it would do BreakingNorms an injustice if I were to follow suit.  After all, this blog is about steering away from the status quo right?  So in light of that, we’re going to steer clear of talking about being thankful for the stereotypical items like “having three meals a day.”

Here’s the thing: Being thankful for things is a step towards the path of humility, which could lead to other beneficial attributes that are helpful to every person’s growth.  But if you ask me, simply giving thanks for our good fortunes (e.g., having food, a roof over our head, a clean bill of health, etc.) does not begin to cover even the tip of the iceberg.  Fact of the matter is that a lot of our good fortune tends to not be things we have control over (e.g., Parents who cook us a great meal).  I’m not saying we shouldn’t be thankful for these things and recognize that there are so many out there who lack even the basic means of survival, but the tradition of giving thanks for these stereotypical items seems to be empty gestures that are forgotten the other 364 days of the year.

So what do I propose?  Even though it is technically the day after Thanksgiving, I say forget those empty statements that almost every person (in developed countries) can rattle off without batting an eye.  Instead, go ahead and thank yourself for all that you’ve accomplished.  Thank yourself for pulling those all nighters to try and do better on the exam (although you probably should have been preparing ahead of time, you get props for at least trying).  Thank yourself for the hard work that you put into the things you care about.  Thank yourself for cultivating the friendships and relationships that you have.

After all, you are the ultimate cause of your achievements.  Your parents, relatives, and environment are all part of an equation you have no true control over, but the ultimate X factor that determines the actions and consequences that is your life is you.  I know that this seems like a complete reversal on the concept of humility, but it’s important that you recognize the degree of impact you can have on your own life.

So on this post-Thanksgiving day, here’s to you and the legacy that you will leave for the rest of the world.  Cheers.

“I Love My Job, But It Made Me Poorer”

This week’s post is to help put some perspective on the alternative methods that I’ve been presenting lately.  In the article, “I Love My Job, But It Made Me Poorer,” by JD Samson, JD talks about the misfortune of having a job that she loves yet does not enjoy the financial success that many others seem to have.  In JD’s scenario, she pursued the one avenue that draws a lot of criticism: music and the arts.

Let us assume that you are like JD, and your passion lies within the arts.  Unfortunately for you, even though American society is far more open to the idea of trying to become a successful musician or artist (as compared to Asian culture), I’m pretty sure that a majority of parents would still have their reservations about pursuing this field.  Though it pains me to admit this, they have good reason to have their reservations.

For many of us, pursuing our passion and deviating from the norm is risky.  There is a solid chance that we might not be successful, and possibly end up in a less than desirable situation.  Many of us could end up like JD, in a position where we are questioning where we went wrong in our path to breaking norms and living a different life than the factory produced life so many seem to have.

In the end however, even that struggle to figure out what went wrong is simply that: a struggle.  What people forget is that you took a shot at what you wanted to do.  You stepped up to the plate, and you swung for the fences even though you were about to strikeout.  Even though it’s easy to look at those who have achieved success and admire them, there is a great deal of respect and admiration for those who have tried, failed, and got back on their feet so that they could move on.

We all know that life is ephemeral and nothing we do or create will ever be permanent.  Even the safest routes have their struggles and obstacles, so why not struggle and fight for something you want and believe in?  Take a deep breath.  Step forth.  Have no regrets.  And go forth with what your heart desires.  It’s your life.  Live it to the fullest.

Failure ≡ Success

So it’s time that I address an issue that a lot of people have pointed out to me (especially after my Steve Jobs post) about the one thing everyone is afraid of: failure. Before I can really speak to this topic of failure though, I would like to start by addressing what it means to be successful.

Success is something that is measured VERY differently by every individual. Unfortunately, society has seemed to define it in an extremely monetarily way. As a result, most of us think that “Success = Money.” In reality, I would say that the idea of success if very much the same as the concept of “rich.”

Is someone rich if they make $100,000 a year? How about $1,000,000? Most people would agree so, but then again we all know that there are plenty of people who may make six figure salaries who are perfectly miserable and even in debt. So in the end, isn’t richness the same as success? With this in mind, let’s speak about this thing people keep calling “failure.”

I know that the idea of failure is something that scares a lot of people. “What if I lose everything?” “What if people will ridicule and think less of me?” And to that, I implore that you stop worrying. It’s true. You are the driver in life. The decisions that you make will impact you irregardless of whether it is good or bad. So in light of this, what is failure?

When Thomas Edison was asked about his many failures at inventing the light bulb, he responded, “I did not fail. I simply found 1,000 ways not to make a light bulb.” Think about this. Could failure not be viewed as one of the routes to success? How many of you could say that you’ve played an entire game of Mario or Tetris without ever making a mistake?

It’s true. Some people pour their life savings and destroy their families in the pursuit of get rich quick schemes. I understand why this may be labelled purely as failure, but you cannot forget the fact that to pursue something without a true motivator and willingness to work hard makes this scenario different from the other failures that others speak of.

In the end, everyone says Steve Jobs was the exception. They are wrong. The only thing that was an exception about Steve Jobs was he was willing to defy the conventional mindset of approaching life and live life as he saw fit. This is the very same man who was fired from the company he built. Would you not say that being fired is a failure? Yet, as Steve Jobs said in his commencement speech, that failure would play a major impact in his growth for future success.

The ability to draw upon inner strength when the world attempts to ho ld you down is what differentiates people from the mold. Do not simply pursue what everyone else does simply because it is the norm. Find your vision, motivation, and drive to fulfill the person that you are. Once you do so, failure and success will blur together since the journey has brought you to true self-actualization.

Midterms and such…

Hey everyone. Sorry for being MIA this last week. It’s been a crazy flurry of midterms and other life stressors.  Don’t worry though, BreakingNorms will be back next week!  See you all then!