Passion VS Pragmatism: Guide to Choosing a Career Path for Young Jobseekers

With Covid-19 looming in the background, many young jobseekers have chosen to adopt a more pragmatic mindset to their career path. Find out if you should follow suit.

If you’re graduating soon or have just recently graduated, you may have this niggling thought in your mind: what is the career path that I should take? You would, of course, have an idea of the profession you want, but may not be fully convinced that it’d be the right one for you in the long term.

It’s understandable that with Covid-19 looming in the background, deciding on your career choice isn’t made any easier. The pandemic has disrupted businesses, affected jobs, and changed the way people work. 

However, before you beat yourself up for not being able to come to a firm decision on your career path, know this: making this judgement call amid a tough jobs market, is not yours alone to bear. Thousands of other young jobseekers are facing the same predicament.

Rethinking your career path? You’re not alone

A recent report by the Straits Times showed that nearly half (45%) of current university students and recent graduates in the Asia-Pacific surveyed by the CFA Institute said they are reassessing their career paths in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Their top concerns include feeling underqualified for the job they want (24%); low pay in their preferred sector (23%); wage reductions as a result of the pandemic (22%) and lack of jobs in their preferred sector (22%).

The trend for job searching is clear. Many young jobseekers like yourself have chosen to adopt a more pragmatic mindset to ride the economic uncertainty. 

Get personalised advice on how to pursue your passions in your career. Register for WSG’s Career Matching Services today.

Passion VS Practicality

Often, when discussing career choices, the passion versus practicality conundrum comes into play. Should the young jobseeker follow his heart and go for the job that he or she likes, or forgo this for another that offers “more stability” but has no affinity for? 

A stereotypical scenario would sound something like, “I’ve always wanted to be an artist but decided to apply for engineering jobs instead, because of the stability.” What’s being perceived here is that an engineering career has better prospects than life as an artist.

The described scenario seems very biased, because the truth is, no one can predict what will happen in the future. There are many successful artists and struggling engineers out there too.

However, given the jobs market situation, perhaps you too may be inclined to try and categorise jobs into the “practical” and “non-practical” baskets. The question is, how accurate are you in deciding which jobs go into which basket? 

To pursue your passion or not to pursue, that is the question

Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.

Yes, we’ve all heard this slogan. So, will being in a career that you’re wildly passionate about turn your entire professional life into one big hobby?

Let’s get real. There’s no perfect job in the world and even working in a job that you love can have its ups and downs. Sometimes you’ll feel stressed, overwhelmed, or even unappreciated. 

It’s time to face the realities of working life. Here are four things to help you rethink unrealistic ideals:

1. Work is not play

Work and play are two vastly different things. The former requires trading your time, energy, skills and experience to pay the bills and put food on the table, whereas the latter is all about fun and enjoyment. Unlike fun, work isn’t about doing something that you want to do — it’s a need to do. Chances are when what you love becomes a job, you just might not love it as much anymore.

2. Enjoy what you love at your own time

It’s normal to have passions and interests and want to pursue them. For example, you may have a deep passion for gardening or computer gaming and you’re excellent at it too. So should you become a botanist or gamer? It’s a possibility — as a highly specialised profession. Thing is, you can still enjoy these activities during your personal time whether you’re an accountant or a warehouse supervisor.

3. No job is completely perfect

This can’t be emphasised enough. There is no perfect job. Sure, there are people with enviable careers and amazing job perks. But, that doesn’t mean that everything’s perfect for them. Every job comes with at least a few mundane tasks or responsibilities that will simply never be enjoyable. You may adore what you do 99% of the time. But, there are bound to be a few related duties that you simply dread.

4. You never know a job until you experienced it

Not every job has to be love at first sight. As a young or fresh jobseeker, your experience with the working world could be based on just hearsay and from mass media. There’s no better way to learn about a job than to try your hand at it. You can sign up for the SGUnited Traineeship programme to get traineeship opportunities across various sectors.

Focus on enhancing your job search

Instead of worrying about job opportunities, now’s a good time to focus on taking your job search to the next level. Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Update and optimise your resume

Since every job starts with a resume, your goal as a jobseeker is to make the resume compelling enough to convince the prospective employer, that you deserve a chance at an interview.

Read more: Job-Winning Online Resume: Your Guide to Crafting One

2. Tap into an advanced jobs portal

In the digital age, online jobs portals are the go-to platform for jobseekers to look for employment opportunities. But with many available online, here’s a guide to help you decide which one to tap into.

Read more: Job Search Not Going Well? Tap Into a More Advanced Jobs Portal

3. Get a traineeship to gain entry into the industry

Landing a full-time job during a tough job market is no easy feat especially if you’re a fresh grad. If experience is what you’re lacking, getting some traineeship experience may work in your favour.

Read more: Finding it Tough as a Young Jobseeker? A Traineeship May Be Your Best Option

The beginning is always the hardest, but don’t give up

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when thinking about the future, but don’t give up. If you need professional advice on anything career-related, speak to a career coach. Here is a list of relevant articles compiled to help you make a well-thought-out decision on selecting a career path for yourself. Good luck!

Eenie meenie miney mo! Can’t decide on your career path? Here are some tips to help you decide on the right job for you.

Passion VS Salary: What To Consider When Making The Switch

Following Your Passions: Should They Influence Your Career Decisions

A job based on your interest you say? It’s possible. Read how something you’re passionate about can be a source of income. 

6 Tips for Reigniting Your Passion at Work

Turning Passion into Careers: How and Why These S’poreans Succeeded

4 Ways to Carve a Career With Meaning

Passionate workers make for higher productivity. Find out how employers play an important role for employees to love what they do.

5 Ways for Employers to Spark Workplace Passion

5 Things that Destroy Employees’ Passion in the Workplace

*The SGUnited Traineeships (SGUT)/ Mid-Career Pathways (Company Attachment) Programme (SGUP-CA) will cease by 31 March 2022.

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