Just Do It

Has the working world become so exotic and/or scary we need to send emissaries to explore it and report back?  

That’s what four guys from Arizona are doing in their “Pursue the Passion” project.  They graduated from the University of Arizona, didn’t know what to do with their lives, so set out on a road trip to interview people about their work, write it up, and post it on their web site.  So far they’ve collected such pearls of wisdom as “Do what makes you happy” and “Go out and follow what you believe in.”

A little farther north, Canadian Sean Aiken is making a splash with his “One Week Job” project (he was featured in the NYT last week).  He graduated from college (valedictorian of his class), didn’t know what to do with his life, so is wandering around North America “working” different jobs for one week each.  Among them so far: baker, bartender, photographer, exterminator, radio DJ.  (He has a wish list of jobs he’d still like to try:  doctor, lawyer, police officer, fireman, etc.  Yikes.  Hope no one offers him one of these–well, maybe lawyer would be okay.)  He’s giving his earnings to charity and soliciting donations on his website to fund the project. 

Somewhat related:  Journalist Alex Frankel just published “Punching In,” the tale of his adventures working “front-line” jobs–UPS driver, barista, clerk at The Gap, et al.  He was seeking to “understand the commercial world that surrounds us by interacting with it in an all-encompassing way.”  Hmmm.  Guess he read the handwriting on the wall, and it said “Nickel and Dimed.”  Must be some cash in that cow yet!*

Working Girl is betting that the Pursue the Passion guys and Sean also have visions of book deals dancing in their heads.

Yeah, it is fun to travel around the country and dip your toe into many different jobs.  Beats working!  But let’s keep in mind that the above guys are the privileged minority.  Only one out of four twenty-something graduates from college today.  And that one is probably so weighed down by college debt that an extended road trip is pretty much out of the question.

Also…… why the hesitancy?  Why not just start working for real?  A job is not exactly indentured servitude.  It’s not permanent.  It’s not as much of a commitment as, say, getting a tattoo.  You’ll have many different jobs in your life.  So why wait?  You don’t have to have found “the” job at age 25 or 35 or even 45.  Of course, Working Girl is not worried about Sean or the Pursue the Passion guys.  They obviously have the ingenuity to land on their feet whatever they do.

The rest of you:  Come on in!  The water’s fine!

*Full disclosure & to be fair:  Working Girl hasn’t yet read “Punching In.”  She lifted the above quote from a review of it in the Wall St. Journal.  When WG does read Frankel’s book she will report back with a possibly less snarky reaction.  Or not.

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  • Trent over at the simple dollar (thesimpledollar.com) wrote about doing what you love, careers and passion.

    I’ve wrote to you before but instead of looking for the “perfect” journalism job when I left my first newspaper gig, I took any job and found an interesting line of work. now if only i could get hired soon and earn more so im not nickel and diming myself on every single grocery purchase, my life would be blissful.