Bad Career Advice: “Do What You Love”

Penelope Trunk has a great post on her blog about why "Do what you love" is bad career advice:

The pressure we feel to find a perfect career is insane. And, given that people are trying to find it before they are thirty, in order to avoid both a quarterlife crisis and a biological-clock crisis, the pressure is enough to push people over the edge. Which is why one of the highest risk times for depression in life is in one’s early twenties when people realize how totally impossible it is to simply “do what you love.”

Here’s some practical advice: Do not what you love; do what you are.

Read the whole thing, especially if you’re wandering in search of the ideal job. Naturally, this being Penelope, her "tanking sex life" somehow finds its way into the post. (Here’s Penelope on why weekly sex with a consistent partner is fantastic for your happiness.)

Penelope’s great. When I visited her in Madison, Wisconsin this past spring, she barraged me (in good spirit) about not being more vulnerable on my blog. Over the next few weeks we had spirited email exchanges on the "non-professional" aspects of a person, whether age matters for emotional development, and other juicy topics. When I talked to her the other week on the phone, she was almost always one degree more honest or blunt than I expected — that’s Penelope for you! Needless to say, I’m a fan, and encourage you to check out her book Brazen Careerist as a stocking stuffer.


Original content coming up:

  • How my friends at Duke raised money on Facebook
  • The importance of intellectual "shock" experiences
  • What teachers everywhere can learn from one of my professors
  • Reflections on first semester of college
  • Push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches
  • Trusting first impressions
  • Illusion of knowledge is worse than knowledge itself
  • Should moderates be glorified?
  • "Things happen for a reason"

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