The message, which is not new, certainly is an important reminder to high school students. First and foremost, get the skills. Then get the job. Then look around for opportunity. Identify the opportunity. Exploit the opportunity. Work at the opportunity. Then get good at the opportunity. Then the figured out how to love it.
Seek opportunity, not your passions.
A degree does not mean you’re going to find your dream job, Rowe explains. “Dream jobs are usually just that–dreams. Their imaginary existence just might keep you from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and develop a genuine passion for the job you already have. Your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself.” With what, then?
Get a job. Look around to see what other people are doing. Get good at your work and prosper. Get passionate about winning. Septic tank expert learned that he was passionate about other people’s crap.” Meaning someone else is setting the mark or parameters for what’s valuable to you. That’s something that you’ve got to find. English, history, math, and science teachers will tell you how important and valuable their subject is. It is valuable. To them! And since you’re learning of its value from them while sitting captive inside a tax-funded classroom, they might be able to persuade a percentage of kids minimally by attrition. They will wear you down, particularly if you’re in the system for 12 years. So there’s that.
Polite society calls professional jobs “good careers.” Maybe they are. Try one on for size. Try serving the public, every one of them. Employers are struggling to fill 5.8 million jobs that no one is trained to do.
Skills gap: when people follow their passions, they miss out on kinds of opportunities they didn’t even know existed. So they never take the time to learn the skill. They only invest time in chasing down their passions.
Can still be a tradesman but only if you get yourself a different kind of toolbox.
“Staying the course” only makes sense if you’re headed in a sensible direction. And while passion is way too important to be without, it is way too fickle to follow around. Never follow your passion but always bring it with you.
In general, Rowe’s advice is quite good. It is sobering. It would be rare to hear this pragmatism from a tax-funded, high-school teacher. But Wall Street Journal writer, Dr. Peter Cappelli, points out a few other reasons why kids are opting for those “good jobs.” He argues that “Some of the complaints about skill shortages boil down to the fact that employers can’t get candidates to accept jobs at the wages offered.” Perhaps. Employers should treat each hire as an investment with a measurable plan of increase wages and responsibility. But they don’t. They don’t want to talk about future responsibility or performance in an interview of positions currently held by tenured employees.
Here is a list of difficult-to-fill jobs for 2016. How many of these are manual labor jobs? Not many. Which makes Mike Rowe look like an oracle for the working man.
Essentially, it looks like healthcare, education, and technology is where job shortages are. Then fill them. Want to be a writer? Fine, just be a healthcare writer or tech writer and so forth.