Sunday, March 2, 2014

Hob Knob Job Search: The Line Between Security, Happiness and Selling Out

I've been at this job search thing for over three months now. I thought I would be at it for maybe a month. Job searching used to be a linear thing. You would go to school, get a job, and remain there while you could rely on a pension once you finished 40 years later.

Now there are so many other factors. You need to "gain experience" with unpaid internships. You need to make sure you have a stellar presence both in-person and online. You need to know people and cultivate your "network." The expansion of the internet has increased our opportunities, but also our competition. There is the idea that you need to be personally fulfilled with what you do. The "economy" is a constant, overarching presence in all of our lives. It's an excuse for hiring managers. It's solace for those offering comfort to frustrated jobseekers. You can't see it, but it runs your job search.

I posted a question on my Facebook wall about whether it's better to do some low-paying job (or jobs) at a place you love while worrying about money or have security at a job that you might love, but it would be pretty far from your idea of fun. I got a lot of different responses.

I'm not on the brink of poverty (maybe official government rules would say otherwise), but I'm fine. I'm not hungry, rent is paid, and I can have a beer with friends on the weekend.

However, there are some opportunities for me on the horizon. One would be a fun place to work, but I'd still be "on the brink" financially and continue to make near minimum wage. The other would be a professional job with serious, professional responsibilities. I'd probably enjoy it, but it might just be a job.

Do I continue to worry while doing stuff I really love? Or do I grab some security and jump headfirst into a job behind the desk?

There's a part of me that says, "Yeah! Do the fun job! You don't have too many real responsibilities. Your friends will be so jealous of you. You'll still be living the dream."

Another part of me says, "Nick, your finances have been a constant worry for you since you graduated from college. You'll figure out a way to stay happy and not become "that guy" who hates his job and thinks he gave up on his dream. You're a happy guy and you're pretty good at figuring what makes you happy. Security doesn't mean sacrifice."

I don't mind making changes or choices, but I just want those things to come soon.


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