I have worked with older teens my whole career. It's always interesting to watch these young men and women prep themselves to step into the real world once high school has come to an end. And, truth be told, I'm always a little nervous for a number of them. As much as I love my profession, if we are honest, the public school system really does little to ensure that kids leave high school with the skill set and knowledge base needed to be successful in life. A daily blog could be written this whole year exploring the different avenues ofthis issue, but today I would like to comment on one fallacy I encounter on a regular basis with my upperclassmen.
"Find what you love doing, and make a career of it. That's the key to being happy in life."
Somewhere in recent decades this has become a popular life philosophy. At first glance, it sounds great. Heck, I love my job as a teacher. Still, I have to call B.S. on this mythic deception. In theory, I love the concept. At the root, it is valid. In practice, however, it is rather improbable. For the masses, it just isn't possible. There's a good chance that what you love doing either isn't terribly profitable, or it is something that has limited vacancies. Not to mention, almost ANY job has the probability of becoming tedious, routine, and unfulfilling from time to time.
So, I would stress that young people take on the following mindset instead: Find what you can like or, at the least, tolerate doing that pays well. Get that for a job, make good money, and enjoy what you love as a hobby.
That's a far superior mindset. I'm guessing not that many anesthesiologists actually love what they do day in and day out, but I'm pretty sure they love the income that job provides, and I'm also fairly certain the profession allows both the time and the resources to pursue a hobby or two with some passion. We have so misguided young people into chasing after an ideal rather than practicality.
By my nature, I'm a dreamer. I'm a romantic. But, I'm also old enough to have been given a few spoonfuls of reality and cynicism to pass along a practicality check. Take an honest look at what you love and decide what the odds are that you will make a solid salary from it over the course of a few decades. Not what is possible, but rather what is probable. If you truly have a passion you are talented enough to make a living wage from, I promise being an engineer or physical therapist or a dentist or even a school teacher won't get in the way of making it big one day.