The Worst Professional Mistake
What is it? What’s the one thing you should never do on a professional level?
Is it taking out a business loan when you don’t have a great plan in place to get started/make money? No. This sometimes ignites a person into action.
How about becoming a temp worker to make extra cash while starting a business and never pursuing a “real” career? Definitely not a bad idea. Temp work is not very exciting, but this does add an element of flexibility.
How about taking a year off entirely and living on credit just to clear your head and decide where to go next? This certainly isn’t a great idea, as idleness isn’t always a friend. But time off like this can at least be good for a period of recuperation and reconnecting with yourself.
Think you have the answer yet?
I’ll just tell you. The worst professional thing you can do is….
Pursue a career just because you want to make a lot of money.
It’s that simple.
The connection between work and money is obvious. One begets another. But one thing that gets lost along the way is the idea that you should work in a profession that you are relatively good at, enjoy, and in which you can contribute to the field. If you ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, he will not consider the earning power of the profession. He’ll just look at the profession itself and make a decision based on what looks fun/interesting. Adults should do the same thing.
Not convinced? Here are 7 careers that pay pretty well. They are popular for this reason, and this reason alone. How many of you would even consider a career in one of the following fields if it paid $20,000 a year with no bonuses?
- Insurance salesman
- Power broker
- Collections agent (isn’t it fun making people miserable?)
- Executive Assistant (this one doesn’t even pay all that well!)
- Real Estate Agent
- Pharmacist (I would argue that most pharmacists originally wanted to be physicians)
- Investment Banker
I certainly don’t hear too many little kids saying “I want to be a power broker when I grow up!” Think about it. I suppose we need power brokers, but still…
Inverse Focus and Earning Relationship
When you begin to focus on money, it actually becomes more difficult to earn. This is because the method behind the money-earning gets lost (the actual job) as you become more focused on the end result. People who make the greatest strides in a certain career are those that put a lot of effort into that career. They enjoy it. You HAVE to enjoy something to be one of the best in a field. And money comes to those who put this effort in.
But most importantly, think about this: we spend a majority of our waking hours working, and a majority of our healthy years working. Would you rather spend that time doing something meaningful and aligned with your ideals, or something to make a lot of money that you don’t like? To those who chose the latter, I’ll just spell it out for you. You will eventually become depressed. You will burn out.
Human beings are amazing, diverse, and passionate creatures by nature. We are meant to take the gifts we are given and help improve the world. We are NOT meant to sit around in little cubes copying data from one system to the next while our eyes, back and muscles wither away while we more money for ourselves. This path leads to misery and makes a person feel like a waste of space.
Don’t let your talents go to waste. If you find something to enjoy doing AND can make money at it, you’ll eventually make more money because you’ll put the effort in. It’s a natural process. Even if you don’t make as much money, don’t worry. You’ll actually look forward to your job, a rare condition these days which is, as all the ads say, priceless.
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