Seriously, this is awesome… LETTER TO MIKE: Hey Mike! I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still
|Scooped by Eric Santiago|
Three years ago when I was just starting school at SUNY New Paltz, one thing became very clear, very quick.
I had no idea what the hell I was doing.
But I wasn't alone.
Most college students change their major, and their desired career, at least once. It's a lot to ask of an untested 18-year-old-- to plot their entire future. That's why most of them are taking six years to graduate with degrees that supposedly only take four.
Even then, only 27 percent of college graduates are working in a field related to their major.
For most, that's a pretty intimidating figure-- myself included. Imagine slogging away through college, discovering yourself and what you want to do in the world, only for it all to amount to nothing. Well, not nothing. Chances are, you'll have a hefty student loan debt to pay back.
But after reading this letter from Dirty Jobs' Mike Rowe, I can see things a little more clearly.
In the letter, Rowe is responding to a fan, who asks him for career advice. The fan talks about wanting the perfect job-- something that pays well, is fun and allows him to spend time with his family. One quote pretty much sums it up.
"I want a career that will always keep me happy," the fan says.
Sure, on paper, that might sound a little ridiculous. But really, can you blame him? Who doesn't want their ice cream and the right to eat it too.
That's where college comes in. They're selling that dream in the form of a degree. Get the right degree, get the right career and then you'll be happy.
Rowe cuts into this fantasy career dream quickly. His advice is stop looking for the "right," or perfect job.
"Forget about what you like," he says. "Focus on what’s available."
He encourages the fan to work hard, at whatever job he chooses. "You can always quit later, and you'll be no worse off tomorrow," he says.
The reason for this, is because Rowe believes that happiness does not come from a job, but rather he says:
"It [happiness] comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs."
That resonated with me in a way few statements have. In my life, I push myself to accomplish goals and to climb mountain tops, all with the hope that it's leading somewhere-- a dream career that pays well and let's me do the things I love. But life should be more about the journey than the destination.
College can help sharpen the skills you need to succeed, and give you the accreditation that proves you have them, but the degree, and the fantasy, shouldn't be the goal.
I'm lucky that I found career that's letting me do the things I love now, rather than having to wait. As much as I want to write for a high-profile news organization, nothing is stopping me from the actual "doing" of that job now. I am writing after all, even if it's for this blog and not The New York Times.
And there are people to meet, places to see and things to do that are a hell of a lot more important than where your paycheck is coming from-- and the latter certainly shouldn't dictate your happiness.
As Rowe says, "Many people resent the suggestion that they're in charge of the way the feel. Those people are mistaken."
I'm inclined to agree. Live everyday the way you want to, and you won't have any regrets.
I'm guilty of not appreciating that fact as much as I should. I look to the future when I should be looking at what's in front of my face. Thanks to Rowe, I'll do a better job of the latter now.
That's why I chose to highlight this letter-- in the hope that it serves someone else as well. Life is too short to worry about where it's all leading. The fact is, we all do know where it's heading, but there's no time to worry about that now.
It all comes down to one last piece of advice from Rowe.
"What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you."