I spent my Labor Day applying to jobs.
After applying to roughly 15, adding onto the monster list of jobs I’ve already applied to over the past four months, my father showed me an article in the Savannah Morning News titled “Finding your passions can wait; Find a decent job instead.” He thought I would “get a kick out of it.” Let me preface the reading of the article by providing some background: I graduated college in May at the top of my class with a Bachelor’s degree in English. During college, I was constantly writing, working, or interning for a publication, so my resume is something I’m quite proud of. Since then, I have dedicated one day per week to researching and applying to jobs. At this point in time, I have applied to well over 200. These jobs have ranged from administrative assistant to writer to social media coordinator for a variety of companies in Florida, Georgia, and California (where I’d love to end up). If it’s silent after 30 days, I assume that I didn’t get the position and move on; I understand that, although I’m qualified to do the job, so is a large percentage of people that just graduated with me. In the past month or so (I enjoyed a June and July free of worry), I have started applying to jobs in my immediate area in an effort to make money while I’m still at home. Although I’m blessed enough to not have a financial burden at the moment, I know the importance of money, and I don’t like to wait around, idling.
So I read the article. Here are the first two sentences: “Let’s stop telling young people to find their passion and start telling them to find a job. The work you do in the world is not supposed to make a fulfilled individual; it’s supposed to make you an employed individual.”
Perhaps it’s just the way I was raised, as that seems to be the author’s main point, but I strongly disagree with this notion. The article feeds off of this idea of a very limited, poor outlook on life, one completely void of happiness. I agree with her point that people need to find a job to make a living and support the world and themselves; however, I don’t think that anyone should give up hope of finding the job that they’ve always wanted. I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was a little girl, and now that I’m out of college, I realize how many different avenues and companies and positions there are that require writing. The author states that “Most people do not make a living by dancing, singing, acting, writing, drawing, or designing apps,” and although I agree with the first few (it takes a lot to get noticed in Hollywood), if my endless searches have proven anything it’s that there are countless jobs out there for writers, artists, and app designers. It may take a few years and more experience to get noticed by a major company, but that simply means you take your talents to a smaller, local company so at least you’re doing something enjoyable and supporting yourself while doing it. Even if the job isn’t enjoyable, I think it’s important to accept your current life, recognize that it’s not forever, keep searching for a better job, and be happy—all of which the article seems to discredit.
One of the things that I’ve struggled with accepting during my job search has been the fact that the job I have now (unless it’s amazing) won’t be my forever. At 21, I have many more years ahead of me. I won’t get stuck working a job I don’t like in a place I don’t want to live for the rest of my life. Life and possibilities are ever-changing.
The author wrote about a conversation she had with a young women who recently got a job in the field that she had studied and trained in. The young woman told the author that she didn’t realize that she would have to work a full-time, 9-5 day for the rest of her life. I’m not entirely sure where the woman got the notion that you didn’t have to do anything to make money (unless you’re from a wealthy background), but more importantly, if you got the job you wanted in a great city, then what’s the problem? The example here is so far-fetched and rare that I had a hard time understanding why she used it in the article: It was to demonstrate her point that passion was originally tied to “agony” and “martyrdom,” but has recently been synonymous with “enthusiasm and eagerness.” I don’t know any recent graduate who would be bummed about having a great full-time job.
Whatever the definition of passion might be, the socially accepted connotation of passion is something that brings great joy. Find a job to support yourself. If it’s the one you’ve always wanted, than that’s fantastic; if it’s not, don’t ever give up hope. Because I don’t know about you (although I have a pretty good idea about the author of this article), but I wouldn’t want to live a life where the thought of going to work each day brought with it immense dread and unhappiness, or no prospect of getting better.