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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3 responses to “The Worst Career Advice in the World: Find Your Passion*”

  1. Melanie says :

    Nice post! I love the idea. I would perhaps remind people that Things You Are Good At isn’t permanent/static. You get good at things by doing them lots, and I believe anyone can get enough at anything they love to do with enough time and effort. So if you’re in A, don’t give up on it! Keep doing it and you will get better at it (if you want to).

    Also – How’s Friday, Feb. 3rd, at Rockville Town Center at noon work for you? 😉

    • BreakingNorms says :

      That’s an excellent point! I guess it would be important to talk about jobs that pay you to get better at something. Although I would say that if you are inherently terrible at that skill, the only place I can think that would possibly pay you to keep getting better at such slow increments would be the government. =P

      Would we be able to push lunch either earlier or later? (e.g. 11:00-11:30am or 1:00pm onwards) [I like to avoid the lunch rush. Let me know if you can’t though!]

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