Well, sort of.

In my and Gwen Sharp’s advice for new college grads, we advise against trying to find a job that you love.  “This sets young people up to fail,” we wrote. Instead:

…it’s ok to set your sights just a tad below occupational ecstasy.  Just find a job that you like.  Use that job to help you have a full life with lots of good things and pleasure and helping others and stuff.  A great life is pretty good, even if it’s not perfect.

This has gotten us quite a bit of feedback, both positive and negative, and helped spark a Huffington Post Live segment exploring the topic, featuring two young entrepreneurs, a career development counselor, and “the requisite” economist (his words!).

I try (largely unsuccessfully) to keep the conversation grounded in a class analysis, reminding the group that using ourselves as examples was sampling on the dependent variable.  And I suggest that, instead of telling young college graduates to “find the thing they were meant to do,” we should help them see that they are likely looking at 100 different satisfying futures. All they need to do is find one of them.

The full segment is longish, but the best part is the first minute, a compilation of wildly successful people giving commencement speeches about how everyone should just find their passion and follow their dreams.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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