There are Still Plenty of Reasons to Follow Your Career Dreams

For everyone heading into college, the same speech is probably given. “The economy is different from in my time,” the wizened old person says, “a bachelors degree is not enough anymore, and forget about following your dreams. You need to get into something solid and reliable. Or else, you’ll end up in a dead-end job, just like______.” Then, they insert the name of some well-known local failure or give you a labor statistic.

I don’t want to suggest that that advice is bad in whole. There’s a lot to be said for looking out for your future career from the start of college (if not before). College is expensive these days (more expensive than in the olden days), and to justify that debt, a calculation should be done by every incoming student to find just what work would be worth that much money.

There’s also something to be said for the fact that careers are getting harder to get into and there are fewer in many previous dream-job areas. Journalism, for instance, has severely cut the number of positions over the last couple of decades. What once could promise a decent future on the local paper may now offer only a modicum of unpaid blog work for some nameless and unveiled site.

It’s also true that America is suffering from a lack of people willing to go into careers that for some reason are viewed as undignified. Plenty of plumbers, for instance, find more work and make far better incomes than those people who graduated with journalism degrees. If that seems like a good option for you, take it and don’t feel ashamed about it.

All that can be true, and it can still be worthwhile to follow your dreams, just follow them more realistically. What the old, wizened elder doesn’t tell you is that there are still plenty of fulfilling dream careers out there, they just don’t follow the traditional paths. There aren’t that many artists, for instance, but there are plenty of people in marketing and website design who make a living off their art. There are few journalists, but working hard in the blogging world can pay off. Perhaps instead of studying journalism, study a foreign language and work as a translator, which is still a thriving career. Should a journalism opportunity arrive, you’ll have an extra skill in hand.

Another important factor skipped over is that the so-called steady and reliable jobs have their own hitches. Tech is getting flooded with new applicants because of these wizened elders, and so that market is likely to get increasingly competitive and hard to move ahead. At the same time, there are serious difficulties in the work environment, such as finding full-time versus freelance positions and even getting paid for the overtime expected of you.

The truth of the matter is you can still pursue your dream just as you always wanted to, and you can justify spending the money by finding a good career. The trick isn’t going into an area you’re ill-suited for, the trick is finding out where the careers are that use your skills.

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