a thoughtful web.
Share good ideas and conversation.   Login or Take a Tour!
comment by b_b
b_b  ·  43 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Tim Urban: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)

I think this is entirely too complicated. The only real advice a young person needs is this: figure out what you love, and then figure out a way to make money doing that.

If what you love is something really general like "helping people", then you have a lot of options. If something you love is really specific like, "looking at insects", then your options are probably more limited. Either way, there's a niche for you that will allow you to enjoy getting up every morning and to feel like you're doing something meaningful.

My personal experience may not be generalizable, but I quit my science-math path in college to become an engineer for the sole reason that my mom and girlfriend battered me into thinking I had to make money. I spent a brief time as an engineer and hated every goddam minute of it. This isn't to say that engineering is bad. A lot of people like it. It is to say that elevating my desire to make money over my desire to love what I do was a bad choice for me. I was able to course correct, and now I have a dream job. The fact that I make ok money is incidental. Even when I was a grad student making $21,000 stipend for 60-80 hours of work/week, I was always happy, motivated, and excited to do the day's work (and I don't mean there haven't been days when it sucked that nothing is going right, that my grant got rejected, that my boss was being a pain in the ass, etc, etc).

One could argue that i've failed into success, but one could also argue that my attitude had a lot to do with that, as well.

veen  ·  42 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There's a great deal of your milage may vary with this topic. I can totally see how other people can live happy and fulfilling careers with a your advice, but I know that's not enough for me. The part of life that is work is so grand, the time invested is so large, that I find it absolutely essential to know to the best of my ability why I'm doing what I'm doing. A motivation that fits on a post-it seems woefully inadequate for something which will dominate the next years or decades of my life. So I quite like the level of depth this reaches - in my mind it's a topic that deserves to be taken apart carefully and inspected thorougly.

Maybe it's also a factor that my options are rather large; I am naturally drawn to learning new tools and putting myself in new situations or dynamics, so I am competent at an unusually large set of things. I could adapt to work in an architecture firm, a department of transportation, as an academic or a database engineer if I'd put my mind to it. There's no logical job for me that follows from my previous work, so I have to do a lot more work to create or find something for myself that I enjoy doing.

johnnyFive  ·  35 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    figure out what you love

I'm continually surprised by people's ability to actually do this. I've never loved doing something for more than about a week, if that, so the idea of having a passion like you describe seems like fiction. I know it happens to other people, but nothing in my own experience leads me to think anything like this is out there for me. Thus I'm left with coping/mitigating, neither of which are particularly satisfying ways to spend your time.