Graduates Should Resist Temptations and Find Jobs They’ll Like

Beware The Lure of Passion and Securing A Dream Job…
A More Sensible Approach for Graduates Is To Find A Job You Will Like.

We all know there is a generational shift underway with jobs and millennials, but it’s not what most people think. Contrary to conventional thought and popular opinion, the Millennial generation does not lack work ethic nor commitment to their jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Figures on job tenure for Americans in their 20s today are almost exactly the same as they were in the 1980s.”

The generational movement happening now promises to be a healthy progression. That is, as long as millennials are careful about the advice they take from other people and avoid temptations of pure passion they’re hearing from their main circle of influence. By this I mean advice given by some of my colleagues in Higher Ed and those in the recruitment industry to college graduates who endorse, “getting a job you love”; “scoring a dream job”; and “going with your passion.”

My son, who is soon to graduate as an ME from Cal Poly, recently experienced a “go with your passion” recommendation during an interview of all things with a hiring manager from a reputable Engineering company. This gentleman had the right intent, but in my opinion gave my son bad advice. Equally important, the hiring manager reinforced the wrong approach to finding a job that my son has also been hearing from other Engineering graduates his age and support staff within the university.

This ethos around employment today is damaging because it sets unrealistically high expectations for finding the ‘perfect job’. It doesn’t allow graduates to gain confidence by getting started down a path, which is important to advance and grow into meaningful careers. It also is unrealistic in that it fails to take into account change and maturity. How many of us, now a generation older, can honestly say the passions we had in our 20s haven’t changed from the enthusiastic interests we have today?

You are a college graduate now so show it by putting your knowledge to work. Rather than conduct a lengthy, disappointing search for the perfect job that you’re passionate about or dream career you will love, make a smarter choice to find a job you will like. Once you’ve been hired look at your job as a way to accelerate your experiences and establish some building blocks. You will do this through performance on the job. You should also expose yourself to as many areas of interest as possible and volunteer for other assignments that stretch both the limits of your skills and deepen your knowledge.

In closing, please take these two simple guidelines away from reading this post. First of all, when looking for an initial job out of college, remember to resist the lure of passion, perfection and dream jobs. Second, realize that you should like, not love, your first job. Look at it as a way to getting started and figure out where your longer-term interests really lie.

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