Mike Rowe, host of the popular television show Dirty Jobs, recently offered some largely excellent career advice to a man who couldn’t “figure out what to do” with his life. The man had no specific career in mind, saying only that he was a “go-getter” who wanted an exciting, high-paying outdoor job.
Rowe offered the following gem (among others):
Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don't waste another year looking for a career that doesn't exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Rowe correctly points out that limiting one’s options to the “right” job that perfectly matches one’s wish list won’t work; it’s akin to holding out for the “right” romantic partner who perfectly matches one’s wish list, down to living in the right neighborhood, Rowe says. In reality, a good job might require you to move, or work in an office part of the time, or do “scut work," such as mopping the floors or the like. (I regularly observe a restaurant owner near my home cleaning the toilets, wiping down the tables, and the like—hardly the most glamorous aspects of his job.) . . .