Last month, Forbes published a list of the best and the worst jobs for 2012, based on a survey by CareerCast.com. The best list was filled with the to-be-expected technological and financial positions, but the worst list got more attention. Yes, we know it's probably not ideal to be a dishwasher or a meter reader (sorry to all the dishwashers and meter readers reading this), but the most controversial member of the list was number 5: journalist.
Forbes staff writer (aka journalist) Jeff Bercovici fired back with an article about the glories of journalism. Yes, the salaries and hours can be bad, he consents, and with the industry in flux at the moment, the job market, frankly, sucks. But, he says, the job market in journalism also sucks because it's an amazing job that a lot of people would love to do.
You get to learn about all kinds of things, meet wacky, passionate people, and express yourself.
And there's the larger point: if your job doesn't let you express yourself (whether it be through newspaper articles or Excel spreadsheets), or doesn't put you on the path to expressing yourself (say you tend bar at night so you can audition during the day), or if it's not in some way an expression of yourself (maybe you like your so-called "worst job" because you can work hard, put food on the table, and kick it on the weekends), then why do it?
Well, yes, of course, there's the matter of money and survival. But if you have a choice and you choose a job because some list told you it was better or easier, then I don't know what to do with you. Things change: the economy, the job market, supply-and-demand. But something that rarely changes is your tastes and your desires and your passions.
Someone once told me I was "brave" for being a film and creative writing major. Why? Because I was choosing something artsy? Because those are two industries that are nearly impossible to break into? Because she herself was scared about her own future?
Maybe I'm being a little too idealistic. I am young and have no family to provide for, so now is my time to be selfish. And scared (a little fear will keep you running and gunning). And impractical (it's like on Monday night's episode of Smash when Sam was like, I've thought through all the risks, and I still want to be a dancer. Are you guys watching this show? It's fabulous.).
But who knows what the future holds. Those Wall Street-ers in the 2008 crash didn't know that everything could fall apart so easily. And Robert Zimmerman didn't know he could be labeled the voice of a generation. So do what you love, regardless of what anyone else says.