Why Your Dream Job is a Nightmare: A young person’s quest in defining their future

Deciding what you want to be when you grow up has never been harder. Not only has variety increased but it has become more difficult to get most jobs. During times like these, the young call upon the elders seeking wisdom. The elders answer the call with,” Do what you love!” The young reply with confusion.

Somewhere among the confused masses we find Eddie. Eddie is a bright, opinionated young boy, with a love for the watching and discussing of films. Eddie dreams of writing movie reviews, the next Ebert. Today I’m writing to you, Eddie. I’m writing to you to make sure that you avoid following your dreams.

Defining Success

You wanna be successful right, Eddie? Sure you do! Everyone does by some definition! We’ll start your venture towards success by finding our definition. The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition for success is:

“The fact of getting or acquiring wealth, respect, or fame. The correct or desired result of an attempt.”

Since we’re talking about jobs we will focus on the wealth portion of their definition. If the correct or desired attempt is success in the workforce then just how much money will you need to be earning?

According to Jacquelyn Smith and Skye Gould from Business Insider, they found that career success is not necessarily associated with a particular dollar amount but rather that it is relative to where we are in our career path. So, a portable toilet cleaner can still be successful as long as he rises up the ranks to executive portable toilet cleaner. Not quite. Their report also conducted a survey which asked respondents how much they would need to earn in order to feel successful. The largest group of both men and women found that a salary from $50,000 to $69,999 would be considered success.

So for our purposes we are going to define success in the workforce as being in an advanced position in your chosen career path with a salary of $50K to $70K. Enough to see a lot of movies, Eddie.

The Wild Wild Job Market

Now that we can visualize success we can advance in your career quest. Our next obstacle is an unforgiving one, the wild wild job market. This frontier of rejection holds an unemployment rate of 7.7% for journalists according to a study conducted by Georgetown University this year. The same study also found that starting salary for recently graduated journalist is on average about $32,000. That’s $18,000 less than our minimum requirement for success.

Not only that, but journalism is on the decline. Data from a 2012 study, shows that in the next 10 years, the number of journalism jobs is predicted to decrease by 13%. With the current 56,000 jobs available to journalist that would be a decrease of nearly 7500 jobs. 7500 people with pencils and notepads in hand left entirely job-less. How many of those 7500 do you think are going to be film critics Eddie? Do you really want to find out?

You’re a bright kid. Your writing skills are not just impressive but show a great deal of potential. You’re cultural savvy makes you all sorts of fun at parties. A young man with communication skills as advanced as yourself could have an admirable income from an admirable occupation that takes equal advantage of his admirable talents.

The way I see it Eddie you have two options.

1. Success

Become a technical writer. Since you maybe unfamiliar, Eddie, technical writers write technical documents that assist people in understanding and using a product or service.These include things such as manuals, online help, white papers, design specification, project plans, test plans, business correspondence, the works. When scientist write a new study or engineers invent a new machine, who do they call for the writing of their technical documents? Mister very important technical writer Eddie, that’s who! With a median salary of $65,000 and an estimated 10% increase in jobs you’d be dumb to not join the party!

2. Be an Idiot

Follow your dreams. Sure the odds are stacked against you but that’s what makes it all the more rewarding. You must take from your passion the power to work and create at two levels above that of your average competitor. With the field of available opportunities decreasing at an alarming rate you must seek opportunities where you previously assumed there were none. You must become the film critic in order to become a film critic. If this seems like the path you want to take then by all means my dear Eddie, it’s your funeral.

Who are you Eddie? Has your upbringing as an intelligent young man taught you to not take things for granted? Do you make your decisions with your brain or with your heart? Regardless of what you chose you’re going to need a large amount of both. Do you want to be successful? I’ve taken you this far but from here it’s on you. It’s your life, do what you will with it, just please, don’t be a film critic.