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I've recently been thinking a lot about careers. This is to be expected; after all, it's my senior year in undergrad and I'm about to make my formal entrance into the working world. However, during my research on the numerous jobs and positions available to me after I graduate, I've made a major realization: there is no such thing as the "perfect job."

Of course, everybody knows this already, so allow me to clarify further. On numerous career websites, WSO included, you find many students like me amped up and motivated for the workforce. We're enchanted by the possibilities of wealth, the charms of interesting and monumental work, and of course, status and power. We all expect to make Partner, retire at 40, and live a glorious and happy life.

Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Once said students get into the workplace, they realize that the perfect job they expected has a downfall-- that it's work. A quick search on the internet reveals the following:

  • Many accountants wish they were lawyers
  • Many lawyers wish they were engineers
  • Many engineers wish they were bankers
  • Many bankers wish they were doctors

It not uncommon to hear that people either find their jobs boring or not lucrative enough, and thus wish to change fields. What you don't hear, however, that's just as common are the people who are still unsatisfied after their career switch. The New York Times published an article a few years ago about an attorney who became sick of her 80-hour-work week corporate law gig, and decided to be entrepreneurial and open up a bakery. If I recall correctly, she returned a few short years later because she realized that running a business was overtly glamorized and still required the 80-hour work weeks, just minus the beautiful office and paid support staff.

This "grass is greener" mentality is extremely common, and I believe that is very detrimental to one's career development. I'm not sure what to blame it on-- career ADD from the data overload of internet, possibly? The "follow your passion" advice given by career counselors?

You see this behavior everywhere, even in college. I'm sure all of you know someone who went through their entire college career constantly changing their mind on what they wanted to pursue. It's a little easier when you're still in school, as you're expected to jump around and try things out; however, in the real world, this type of activity will kill any momentum one has of 1) learning, and then mastering the skills required to be excellent in their field, 2) developing a solid reputation within the industry, and 3) building the connections in that industry.

I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on this "Career ADD." I'm not saying one should stick with a job they hate-- happiness is essential in life, and one's occupation makes up a whole lot of life. However, I think too many people my age and slightly older jump the gun, jumping from one thing to the next and spreading themselves out too thin. I personally went from wanting to be pre-med, to wanting law school, to finally wanting to be a venture capitalist. However, venture capitalism has been on my mind far longer than the other two, and I'm ready to heed the necessary persistence to see it through.

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Comments (4)

  • Nicholas Van Orton's picture

    I completely agree. In fact, I've fallen victim to this "Career ADD" before; starting up my first semester in college as a Bio Major on a Pre-Med track and just now deciding being a doctor isn't for me and that I'd prefer banking. I think it's almost impossible to have a full perspective of what the perfect job is for you. The pros of another job will always look better and the cons will seem nonexistent until you actually change jobs. I think it's important to stick with what you're doing to a certain degree once you're out of school.