When reading career advice it is easy to come across one basic concept over and over again: love the work you do. Young adults hear this when they are told how to pick college majors, when choosing internships and finding that first job after graduation. However, this advice for young adults is not always reasonable or practical when you are under a mountain of student loans.
Telling young adults to turn down well-paying jobs because that job isn’t the type of work you want to do for the next ten years seems counter intuitive, if not detrimental to a person’s bank account. The main purpose of a job is to make a living. Money is money, whether or not you are following your passion. How much a person likes and/or dislikes their job is on a spectrum and not a yes/no question. What we do need to be teaching young adults is how to navigate the job market and when a job is no longer meeting their needs.
While these skills are necessary, at the same time it is important to realize that it is important to like the work you do. This does not mean you can’t like a job because it pulls you out of debt and stops you from worrying about money every second, but once you have some savings and peace of mind you will most likely want a job that gives you satisfaction in other ways. If you are working a full-time position and not enjoying what you do or where you are for that much time on a weekly basis those 40 hours can be unbearable and really mess with your quality of life after your work day is done.
So, how do you remedy this situation?
Be aware of your reasons for taking a job. If you are desperate for money and have to take a job that pays the bills, but doesn’t really let you do what interests you, it is alright to take it. Just be honest with yourself and realize that you’ll want to do more with your life. Set yourself goals and deadlines for finding a different job doing work that you’ll love. It is easy to fall into that feeling of relief and get stuck in the comfort of a steady paycheck. The trick is to not become complacent and stay in a job that no longer meets your needs. Though you may have a job the search is never really done until you have found a place where you are happy.
For more, this topic was recently debated by Patrick O’Brien and Susan Davis-Ali on USA Today.