“How much does that job pay?”
“Are there jobs in this field?”
“Will this career continue to have jobs in the future?”
These are the typical questions I hear as a career counsellor. For all of these questions I tell my clients where they can go to look up this information. For many who visit a career counsellor their motivation is to get help finding a career that will suit them. However, a question that is more difficult to research is whether or not they will like their chosen career.
Yet, there is also a segment of our clientele that doesn’t care about whether or not they will like their chosen career, rather their concern is whether or not the career they have chosen is stable enough. These clients are what I like to call the “Stability Seekers”. On the surface they may seem like a career counsellor’s dream client. These are the clients that come asking the easy questions. “What is the starting wage?” “What does the typical career path for this career look like?” “Are there more jobs than job seekers in this industry?” These questions can usually be answered through the client’s labour market research and through informational interviews.
The information that cannot be found so easily for the stability seeker is how much they are willing to let stability trump passion. It’s a question that all job seekers and career explorers ask themselves. The question becomes especially important when stability is the most important deciding factor for the decision maker.
It’s important for the stability seeker to realize that passion for one’s work is not just about feeling good and being happy. Those things are important but let’s put them aside for the moment. What are the chances that a person can really excel at their job and in their career if they don’t enjoy what they do? If the job bores them, or if they don’t see the point in what they do—how successful will they really be at it? For instance, life long learning is becoming an expectation of workers in today’s workforce. For those who enjoy their career, enhancing their knowledge base and skill set comes with ease. However, if someone doesn’t enjoy their career, being asked to keep up-to-date on new software or business practices feels like a chore rather than an opportunity.
It’s harder to be innovative and grab that promotion when one doesn’t really find their job that interesting or important. Money is a powerful motivator but if they don’t really care about their career or company, it’s very difficult to fake the creativity and leadership that comes from a passion for one’s work. If one never demonstrates these traits, getting to the next level in their career can be a real challenge. The issue of competition is also important to consider. Regardless, of how good an actor one is, someone with real interest in their chosen career is going to out shine them in any interview. It’s possible to say all the right things, but the job seeker who really is passionate about a career will likely make a better impression. The reason being, the competitor has the advantage over them, they don’t have to pretend.
The stability seeker’s safest option is to become a passion seeker. This is not to say that the stability seeker needs to give up on making a choice that they feel is highly stable. As a career counsellor I encourage career explorers to investigate the labour market information on the careers they are interested in to see what risks and benefits are involved in any decision that they make. Ironically, when stability seekers ignore all the aspects of a career that make it enjoyable or interesting and only focus on stability, they lose out on the safety and security that they are seeking.