Archive | January 2012

The Worst Career Advice in the World: Find Your Passion*

So for those who have never read I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.  You are missing out.  It is by far one of the best books I’ve read on finance (And for those wondering, I’m not earning anything by posting the link up or talking about the book, it’s just for your convenience in case you’re interested).  I would rant and rave about how entertaining and informative it is, but let’s save that for another post.  The only reason why I bring this up is because Ramit is someone that I believe exemplifies breaking the norm.

For today’s post, I want to talk about one of Ramit’s many rants: Finding Your Passion.

“Find your passion, and your dream job will follow.” – NOT Ramit

As much as I’m all for finding a person’s passion, I have to agree with Ramit on this because this is actually one of the biggest misconceptions that exists out there on finding a job.  I realize that my recent posts have discussed ideas dealing with whether or not people should take jobs they don’t want and such, but this is an important point that I must reiterate: THIS IS TERRIBLE ADVICE.

To illustrate my point, I refer to David Hamil’s theory on finding our place in the job market.  My professor brought this up in class one day, but as far as I recall there was no formal theory name.   So, for all intensive purposes, let us call it the “Ideal Job Venn Diagram” (IJVD).

As you can see, the IJVD is comprised of three parts: Things You Like to Do, Things You Get Paid to Do, and Things You’re Good At.  Here is the breakdown of what happens when you fall into the following categories:

  • Quadrant A (Things You Like To Do + Things You Get Paid to Do) – You love what you do.  You’re getting paid for what you do.  Fantastic.  Except you also suck at what you do, so prepared to be out of a job within a month.  Back to the drawing board.
  • Quadrant B (Things You Like to Do + Things You Are Good At) – So you’ve reached Level 999 and you are the grand master of the new game of the month.  Congratulations.  Only no one is paying you for it and (assuming you are actually employed) you’re probably working at some job that you don’t care about.  Unless you have a trust fund or Bruce Wayne’s will to his estate, it’s time we move on.
  • Quadrant C (Things You Get Paid to Do + Things You Are Good At) – This is where 99% of the employed people are.  This is the norm.  There’s nothing wrong with this quadrant, except that as time goes on, more and more people are realizing that simply paying the bills and going through the motion of life just isn’t cutting it anymore.  They’re starting to realize that there’s another key component to a happy life: self-fulfillment.
  • STAR – As you might’ve guessed, this is where we are aiming to be.  It’s a job where we’re good at what we do, we like what we do, and we’re getting paid to do it.

I realize that finding our perfect job may seem impossible, but this is a reminder to everyone that it’s not.  What I can say for ABSOLUTE sure is that if what you want is that perfect dream job, you’re going to have to break all the norms and work damn hard for it.

I’ve been following Ramit’s Find Your Dream Job posts and webcasts on his blog.  Let me tell you, there is some freaking amazing content he’s giving away for free.  And let me remind you, I’m not getting anything for recommending his content.  I’m doing this because I believe you deserve to get great content from someone who is way past the bar in terms of breaking the norm.

As I progress in my own dream job hunt, I’ll be sure to keep you all posted.  But meanwhile, I’ll do whatever I can to pass on any methodologies that I’ve found that are really helpful.  ‘Till next time!

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“Schools Kill Creativity”

So over the last few months, I’ve had a lot of great discussions with my good friend Jo-z that have been inspired from TED Talks that he’s watched.  And it wasn’t until last week that I had the epiphany that TED Talks serve as a prime  example of people trying to instigate change and break the norm.  As a result, I will be starting a monthly series of TED posts.

January’s TED Talk is  “Schools Kill Creativity” by Ken Robinson.
If I were to describe this talk in one word, I’d say it was brilliant and hilarious.  That’s right.  I had to use two because the awesomeness of this talk simply could not be contained in one word.   If you have twenty minutes for some entertaining enlightenment on our education system, please watch the video below before proceeding.

(For those who think that they don’t have time to watch this, I hope that I’ll be able to convince you to take the time to do so after you read this post.)

Robinson brings up so many excellent points that I’m pretty sure I could write a whole research paper without blinking an eye.  For the sake of time and your entertainment, let’s stick to my favorite ones.  Before I get into my favorite points however, I want to start by clarifying that Ken Robinson defines creativity as “the process of generating original ideas that have value.”  That being said, let’s move on to my top three highlights.

#1. “By the time they [children] grow into adults, most kids have lost that capacity [to be creative].  They are afraid of being wrong.”
When I analyze my own history and think about the impact the education system has had on my own growth, this point hits straight home.  It’s not so much that we should be rewarding mistakes, but schools have conditioned people to be afraid of making a mistake. Now I know that there are those who are immune to this fear, and there are two types of people who fall into this category: “average” students and future researchers.  The sad thing is that some of our brightest and most successful entrepreneurs and business people tend to come from these stereotyped “average” students.  And a lot of times, it is because of their tenacity and willingness to be wrong and try again that they can surpass the masses.  But then again, both the budding entrepreneur and future researchers are a small portion of the population.  So what about everyone else?

#2. “…Another person would have put her on medication and told her to calm down.”
This quote comes from the story of famous choreographer X and how she discovered her talent.  I would paraphrase the story for you, but it just doesn’t do justice to how Robinson tells it.  In regards to the meaning of this statement however, I think it’s a pity that so many people resort to typical methods to deal with every problem.  The prime example of this is ADHD.  I get it, some kids cannot seem to sit still.  But seriously though, society’s answer of putting them on medication just because they don’t fit properly into society’s little box is absolutely absurd.

#3. “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”
The coup de grace of the entire talk for me is this statement.  It’s further reinforcement to the notion that one cannot be afraid to fail and make mistakes.  We try, and we fail, but then we try again.  If we are constantly afraid of being wrong or judged by others, we will always be confined to the constraints of our own fears.  And let’s not the forget that those fears may be completely irrational and have no grounds at all.  No one will judge you as harshly as you will end up judging yourself. So stop worrying about being wrong, and get going on moving forward in life.

Again, I want to re-emphasize that this is a TED Talk that you would definitely find fascinating since it touches on an education system that has not only impacted our lives, but the future generation as well.  Here’s to embracing mistakes so that we can create something original. Cheers.