There’s a comment I hear high school and college students make on a regular basis. When I ask them about their career goals—often they say something like:
“Well, I plan to get a job in the area of my major, then I hope to get a big break and make my first million dollars, then retire when I’m 30.”
As I converse with them, I try to help them see three potentially unhealthy assumptions in that statement:
1. In our current economy, graduates may not immediately get a job in the area of their major. While I always encourage students to pursue that goal, most of us had to begin somewhere else and at the bottom of the “job ladder.” It’s far better to enter the job market asking: “How can I serve?” not “What can I make?”
2. In today’s world, we tend to always be looking for the “big break.” I’m not so sure that’s wise. It’s the “lottery” mindset that puts its hope in a special chance that will arise—like winning “American Idol” or getting noticed in Hollywood. Most of the time, real successes arise from steady plodding and honing a skill.
3. Lastly, when I hear someone say, “I’m gonna retire when I’m thirty,” it implies that they expect to have a job they don’t like. It assumes work is something to get rid of as soon as possible. What a sad way to live. I’d rather work hard, and finally land at a place where I absolutely love what I do—and can hardly wait to do it everyday.
This Labor Day—may I suggest we all ask ourselves the questions:
- Do I begin with a pursuit of adding value not receiving value from my labor?
- Am I willing to labor in a cause I believe in, but may not be sexy or glitzy?
- Can I discover my passion and strength—then find work that I love?
Money and fulfillment are by-products of working in our areas of passion and strength (click to tweet). They are often elusive when we pursue them. Tomorrow, I will blog about a hilarious scenario that contrasts two different kinds of students and what we must do to lead them well before they begin their career.
Until then, happy Labor Day. Hope it’s a relaxing one for you.