This career advice has been growing in the past few years. However, it will not likely lead you to a satisfying career.
As a student in middle school in 1978, my favorite NFL team drafted a defensive end named Art Still. Even in his rookie year, he made an immediate impact both on the team and to me. I meet him briefly and my dream began. I could see myself pushing the offensive lineman back toward the quarterback and making the sack. The crowd would cheer, teammates would slap my helmet . . . to sum it up, I had a dream; some might call it a passion to dominate on the football field.
If I had experienced the “Follow your dreams, follow your passion” advice that seems to be quite popular, my life would be may have been quite different. To follow my passion, I would have needed to grow 10 inches and doubled my weight through muscle mass. The height issue was not going to happen to my 5’9” frame and I still cannot think of a legal way to double my muscle mass.
As you consider career choices, I believe the best advice may come from Mike Rowe, “Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.” His challenge is to follow opportunity. Take 3 minutes to watch this clip: https://youtu.be/NT1i26RbrhM
Actor Ashton Kutcher defines opportunity like this:
I believe that opportunity looks a lot like hard work… When I was 13 I had my first job with my dad carrying shingles up to the roof. And then I got a job washing dishes at a restaurant. And then I got a job in grocery store deli. And then I got a job in a factory sweeping Cheerio dust off the ground. And I’ve never had a job in my life that I was better than. I was always just lucky to have a job. And every job that I had was a stepping stone to my next job and I never quit my job until I had my next job. And so opportunities look a lot like work.
How to find opportunities:
- Job ShadowTalk to your parents, teachers, guidance counselors to see if they know someone working in a field that interests you. Spend a day or two watching and learning about the job.
- VolunteerThis is an excellent way to see opportunity.
- Be CuriousWhether you think you would be interested or not, ask adults what their favorite part of their job is and what they think is the biggest challenge.
- Keep your eyes (and ears) openOpportunities are all around us. Look for ways to do things better and quicker. Dreams are formed at the intersection of opportunity, interests, and strengths. Passion is the determination and hard work you bring into whatever you do.
The opportunities are out there! Grab your passion and get to work!