78% of People Failed. How to Find the Job You’ll Love?

Most people don’t love their jobs.  In fact, 78% of people are either not engaged at work or they are actively seeking another job1. That’s three quarters of the American population that would be happier doing something else. And while that seems to be a lot, that number is probably not high enough. If you consider there are over 12,000 different jobs2, the sheer odds of picking the profession that would make you the happiest are not good.  We need a better way to determine how to find the job you’ll love?

If making a complete guess, you would only choose your perfect career 0.008% of the time. For reference, the odds of being struck by lightning in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000 or 0.03%. That would mean you are four times more likely to be struck by lightning than picking your perfect career path. But surely we are better at picking our ideal careers than this, right?

So, how do we typically answer the question of how to find the job you’ll love? We asked current college students at the University of Houston and here is what they said:  

The students started off by considering 10-20 jobs they’d been exposed to either through parents, friends, neighbors, or what teachers told them they’d be good at. They then narrowed their search down to four or five based on the ones they believed they would like. Then, the students googled the average and maximum salaries in each profession and which ones were most likely to have open positions four years down the road. Through the internet, they narrowed their professions to one or two. Finally, less than half of the students chose to interview a few people in each of their remaining job interests with even fewer doing a job shadow.

Let’s break this down. Students go from 12,000 options to 10 to 20 by considering only those jobs they have been exposed to. This means 99.8% of all available jobs have already been eliminated. Next, students think about the times they have had any contact with these professions (even if it’s just seeing the job in a movie) and attempt to determine how happy they might be by envisioning themselves in each of those jobs. While a good practice, if they have any misconceptions about the careers, which we often do, they’ve eliminated 99.96% of their options without really understanding the careers. The next step is to consider the potential salary and predicted odds of being able to find a job upon graduation. These variables are good to consider, however, neither indicate how much you would like the job. Yet they are used to narrow down the career search to one or two. Finally, the first real world interaction with the profession, interviews and job shadows, are not used nearly enough and are given too much weight when they are used (seeHow to Choose a Career Path).  

While this is the typical process most college students practice to answer “how to find the job you’ll love,” most non-college graduates use a similar process. The one difference is they typically rely even more heavily on the jobs they’ve been exposed to. So, if everyone is using this process, it must be right…right?

Consider this. Using the current process, we go from more than 12,000 careers down to one without ever experiencing the profession for ourselves. Yes, we may have seen others do the job, and yes, we may have heard how much others like their jobs, but when we are committing to 90,000 hours of working in a particular profession, shouldn’t we try it before we decide? In fact, shouldn’t we try as many professions as possible so we can enjoy the next 40 years of our lives?

So how can we go about getting this experience? Internships can be difficult because we typically don’t know enough or have any expertise when we are first deciding what we want to do. This makes it not only difficult to secure the internship, but when we do, most companies don’t put us in “real world” situations. We are instead given busy work and paper shuffling that doesn’t give us a clear idea of whether or not we like the particular profession. In fact, these types of internships can actually work to push us away from that particular career.

Another option is taking classes in college to answer “how to find the job you’ll love?” Although this is the most widespread experience gained by students, the academic world doesn’t always mimic what it’s going to be like in the “real world.” Also, one bad class or one bad teacher can affect how much you think you like the profession; even if the class has nothing to do with what you would be doing in that career.

The final option is to sign up for a program like OmniLYF which allows high school and college students to try out different professions through 2-week mini-internships. Students are able to gain “real world” experience by working through projects developed by professionals in each field. Because students can try multiple professions, they can better determine which career path is right for them; or they can decide if they need to keep looking. 

So why doesn’t every student enter one of these programs? First off, the main company that offers this type of program is OmniLYF and they currently only operate in the Houston area with more locations not available until 2020.  Second is the expense. While this could actually be a cheaper alternative to “trying a few classes in college to see what you like” because taking a semester or two to decide can be expensive, committing the money to your student is difficult especially when having them take the “normal” path is tempting. But if we look at what our children are up against…picking 1 in 12,000 to decide what they do for the next 40 years, maybe trying a few professions to see what they like would be worth it. And, if this prevents them from going down even one wrong path, the program would more than pay for itself. There are also various scholarships provided by OmniLYF that would make this the ideal way for students to find a career they would love without spending the time and money in college trying to figure it out.

Seventy-eight percent of people not liking their jobs is far too many. And with 12,000 options, we need to find a better way to help our students figure out what they want to do with their lives. Giving our students experience to try out different professions, no matter how we accomplish this, is the best way to help them narrow down their choices before they end up in a profession they hate.

1Provided in theGallup State of the American Workforce Report

2According to careerplanner.com 

78% of People Failed. How to Find the Job You’ll Love? by Bobby Fausett

How to Choose a Career Path 

By Bobby Fausett – January 13th, 2019

Isn’t it crazy that we use better tools to pick where we are going to eat than we do to choose what our profession is going to be for the next 40 years? Think about it. What is the typical job selection process?

We narrow down the 12,000 options1 for our career paths based on jobs we’ve been exposed to, what we’ve been told we’d be good at, which jobs have the best salaries, and which jobs are most likely to have work in the future. 

Read more…