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In Career Planning, Follow Your Heart, Not The Ebb And Flow Of The Economy Or Job Market

April 10th, 2008 · 5 Comments

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People are nervous out there.

One of the reasons I know this is because I’ve been getting an inordinate amount of Ask Brian emails that boil down to: “I’m in industry X. Do you think this is a good industry to be in or should I try another career?”

I have written a couple of posts on what careers look good going forward through the rest of this decade. But answering these questions individually isn’t helpful to anyone.

The bottom line is this: anyone can make a go of any career at any time. But not everyone can make a go of any career at any time.

My advice to all of you with trepidation about your job search in light of the current state of the economy:

Follow Your Heart And Do What You Love; The Rest Will Work Itself Out

The job market might ebb and flow. But if you truly have a passion for what you do, you CAN and probably will make a good living at it. Even in the tough times.

I’ll give you a good example of some logic behind this using a timely example.

A couple of years ago, people were literally flooding into real estate, for reasons we now understand all to well. And these days, in contrast, people are flooding out of real estate. If we polled our writers at, I’m sure the number one career change category they’re dealing with this year is: Mortgage Broker/Real Estate agent.

So, here you have a whole bunch of people who jumped into real estate because it was hot and they could make a lot of money. Now they are jumping ship because the opposite is true.

But what if you truly love real estate? I mean, really, really have a love and a passion for it. In that case, you should probably stick it out.

The next couple of years should see a lot of turmoil and a lot of bloodletting in your industry. But when things finally turn around (and they WILL turn around eventually) the people who stuck it out and are still standing will probably find themselves in a greatly enhanced position.

The market will have consolidated. Like the Warren Buffetts of the world know, it’s in the tough times that you make your play and stake your claim. When things turn around, you could be the one holding the market in your hand.

Here’s another example:

Regular readers of this blog will know I have used this example before. But it’s a good one, so I’ll use it again.

We founded at the height of the dot com bubble. And so we were there for the nuclear winter when the bubble burst. At one point, fully 1/3 of our clients were out of work techies.

Some of them got out of tech and moved on to another career path.

But I can say this with certainty: the tech folks that stuck with their career path are now doing very well. And the two clients we helped get hired at Google in early 2003? They’re multimillionaires now. Even in a nuclear winter, there are opportunities for the future; somewhere out there, good people are hiring.

I know this is the most Hallmark Card/Oprah-ish/Paula Abdul-on-American-Idol sort of feel-good advice I can offer, but when it comes to your career (and for most things in life) you should always follow your heart. If you’re doing what you love, everything else will fall into place. And just because the career that you love might be facing a challenging environment now, doesn’t mean it will be like that forever.

Today’s burst bubble career field is tomorrow’s growth industry 2.0.

Related posts:

  1. Job Search In A Down Economy
  2. How To Find A Job In A Tight Job Market
  3. Should You Consider A Career Change?

Tags: Job Search

  • Dee

    Good post. I’d like to add that it’s not just “love” it’s hard work. I think the assumption behind the “love” is that the person will put in lots of work, but it won’t be a pain to do so. Many people think they love something and just rest on that love and expect things to fall into place (me being one of them for a long time). In this sense, love isn’t just a feeling about an industry; it’s a willingness to do the work combined with the feeling that it’s not so painful to do.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I don’t buy the whole do what you love and follow your passion notion. Especially for people who are really suffering because their job choice is what has caused them financial anguish. Let’s be realistic, people need to eat. Do you think the lady that scrubs your office toilets dreamed of scrubbing toilets her whole life and is following her dream?

    This is not sound advice, and I do not understand why I keep hearing it over and over. Sure, there are some careers you must have a passion for in order to succeed. But this is not as universal as people have misled us to believe. That’s why you’ll find cab drivers who were IT majors and marketing coordinators with history degrees.

    You need to work to live. Unless you are rich. Period. Yes, do something you enjoy, but we can’t all be ballerinas, so don’t be stupid and dump your job because you’re not passionate about it. Passion makes life thrive, but it doesn’t always pay your bills.

    So my advice is, live your life and do things you are passionate about, but don’t expect that you will be able to make enough money to live off of what you enjoy doing best. That’s life, folks.

  • Cem

    well you can pursue your passion and also get a side job to pay your bills. and if you truly have talent, i say the sky is the limit.

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  • Anonymous

    Great post. And our comments illustrate the abiding truth that we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.