Before you choose your education, study your job

January 13, 2016 by In Blog

For young people who are learning about what to do in life to find their passion and purpose, study different jobs first and then select your education.

Why do we study logistics in school and then go apply for a job in logistics and find ourselves utterly bored? Because we end up getting forecasts from customers and regurgitating numbers into an excel spreadsheet. Or, we organize a shipment of product a to point b via train, boat or air.

Why do we study human resources and go apply for a job only to discover we end up calculating employees sick leave, sending out a template for new hiring contracts or tracking holiday time of workers?

Why do we study finance and accounting and go out and apply for a job only to discover we end up reconciling bank accounts, reporting about expenses of employees travel and paying invoices with online banking?

Why do we study business and end up handling customer complaints? You listen to a complaint, you report the complaint and then you communicate it to another level. And then it gets fixed, by usually not by you.

The point is that there seems to be a huge gap with what we imagine a job to be from our education and the reality once we get hired. How can you avoid taking a job and finding it dull and not in line with your intelligence and full capacity?

I think it’s critical for young people to read job descriptions before they choose their major. Or, conduct informational interviews with people who are already doing the job and ask they what they love about their job most? Or what do they dislike the most? Or how do they spend the majority of their time each day at work?

The truth is that most jobs don’t use our full potential and many of them can be managed by a high school graduate who can read, write and communicate effectively. Decisions are taken by the few. Most jobs in business are to implement someone else’s idea.

Oh no. You mean I have just studied for 5 years to hear this depressing news. It’s not entirely true obviously but it’s often the feedback I hear from university grads who begin in the work place. They learn their job quickly and then it turns into repetition. It’s easy. Too easy for their brain and creativity. So what can you do about it?

Before you embark upon choosing your final major, know specifically the day to day remedial tasks and responsibilities for the different jobs that you think you will be applying for. Read carefully those job descriptions. Gather knowledge. Inform yourself before you waste years studying something that will only bring you a job, just to have a job.

We all deserve to find purpose and joy in our work. We all desire to do something that uses our natural talents and is stretching us to learn and evolve continuously.

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