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The cold hard reality about your (future) career.

By   |  October 26, 2008

It seems as if advice regarding the pursuit of a career always entails being told to find a job that you can enjoy. Such advice came up last year during a short seminar with the surprisingly funny and affable comic book legend, Stan Lee. Not that I expected a snobbish clunker, but Stan Lee was exceedingly clever and self-effacing; so much so that I made a point to point that point out. But I digress.

During the meeting with Mr. Lee, career choice was brought up and he advised us to do what we can enjoy; this frequent bit of advice got me thinking just how realistic that really was. To be sure, there probably aren’t many people that absolutely hate their job and there are likely just as few that absolutely love theirs. I’d imagine most of the people with careers fall into the middle ground between love and hate that I call “semi-apathetic acceptance”.

Think of it like this: there are probably only a few jobs that can be universally enjoyable. Careers that would, on a widespread basis, be considered enjoyable often include those involving sports and show business among others. Sure, there are other careers that fit certain people as well. For example, the idealists of the world can enjoy being doctors or vets or politicians while the lying deviants can take enjoyment in being pimps or gangsters or, well, politicians, too.

But a job someone loves is based on personal preference, and for most people, certain jobs that would be terrific aren’t so because of a glaring factor: survivng in reality. Simply put, your career can’t always be seen as an enjoyable hobby; it is something you survive off of, something you work for. In this sense, it just so happens you will likely fall within that middle ground of semi-apathetic acceptance because perhaps what you want to do doesn’t pay well enough or you just aren’t skilled or talented enough to do what you’d really like to. Even those “prestigeous” jobs that college students (among others) work so hard to attain are not exactly enjoyable; being a doctor or a lawyer or an investment banker or an engineer isn’t fun; we pursue these careers because they may fit our skills and also come with a nice paycheck to boot.

The bottom line is that we do what needs to be done in order to survive (and thrive) and if you just so happen to not hate your career (or you happen to actually love it! *gasp*), then all the better.

It truly isn’t always realistic to pursue what you enjoy in life.  Ultimately, cold hard reality often sucks the fun out everything, even the upbeat and well-meaning words of Stan Lee.

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