Pursue a Degree Based on Interest, Not Job Prospect

“Is it okay to pursue a degree entirely based on interest without thinking thoroughly about what career will I get with that degree especially with the high employment rate?”

I understand where this is coming from because once upon a time, I was a student as well. So, I’m just gonna tell you my thought process when this thought enter into my mind. It was 2010 when I decided to change my university degree from biotechnology to biology and psychology. I decided to go from a specialist to a double degree. It’s a Canadian system, so don’t think too much about it. But all in all, it’s just one degree. One Bachelor degree. 

Anyway,I made that change, made that switch. Obviously, people are asking “What are the job prospects?” which is normal to think about. I thought about it. Okay, what am I gonna do with psychology? Because that’s my main interest.  What am I gonna do with psychology?So,  I thought about it and I came to a realisation that maybe I’m thinking about ‘job’ in the wrong way. 

For a long time, a job is ‘Degree-Interview-Job’. But if you look at reality, just look around. It’s not all that a job is. A job could be that but that’s only one way to get a job. I realised this during the one summer I attended this one briefing about career. The guy who was presenting, I think he was a counselor or something, he mentioned a very interesting story about a guy who is working in Facebook but he has a degree in Literature. I’m like, “Wait, what???” Degree in Literature but working in a technology company? You wouldn’t think that in school. You’d think that an engineering degree will get you an engineering job. But really, it’s not the reality.

The reality of the situation is that it’s not your degree that’s getting you the job. It’s your knowledge and understanding. That’ll get you a job. And plus, your skills as well. So, your knowledge, your understand and your skills. These three things are what will get you a job. So, I start to reformulate in my mind what a job means. From lots of observations, looking at the reality of what a job is, and what I thought before and what are people doing right now, I came to a conclusion that a job is basically you solving people’s problems with your knowledge and skills and they are willing to pay you for that. That’s what a job is. Think of any job. It’ll fall in that category. It’ll fall in that definition. I can guarantee you that. A job is you solving a problem for someone else and that someone pays you to solve that problem. That is a job. Job = Problem solving. That’s it.

Think of any job. Even small jobs like picking up garbage in front of your house. That’s a problem and somebody has a job to pick up that garbage and throw it somewhere. And we pay them with taxes. We’re happy to do that because they’re solving this problem for us. What happen if they don’t pick up the garbages every week? It’s going to be chaos. Health hazard. So, a job is basically you solving people’s problem and they’re willing to pay you to solve that problem. 

That’s how I think about jobs during my university years. I wasn’t afraid at at all. Obviously, I was worried, I’m not gonna lie, but I wasn’t afraid. I was optimistic. I was high energy. I was very very looking forward to the future. Because I had this newfound realisation of what a job is.

So, while people are afraid of “Oh my god, interviews!”, “Oh my God, job prospect”, I was looking at problems. That’s what I did. I was looking at what other problems I see around me that I can solve and can I monetise that. Can I do that as a career and have somebody pay me to solve this problem? That’s what I did. And that’s what I do now with my job, with my online classes. I look at problems and then I try to offer a solution. Put a price on it and people are willing to pay for it. Not because of some scam, or some promise. But because of results. You show them this a solution that if you do it, it’ll help you. Actual skills, knowledge and understanding in solving people’s problems will get you a job. So, if you wanna pursue something on the basis of interest, I’d add something. Not just interest, but also understanding and skills. Because you can be interested in something, but not be good at it and that’s not good. 

For example,  you may be interested in soccer but you have no idea how to play soccer. That’s not good enough. You have to find something that you’re skilled at, good at and interested in and you can understand it in a deep deep deep way. From there, you can be really really creative in how you provide value to other people by solving any problems that they have which are related to the skills, knowledge, the understand that you have. Match the two things. Match the problem in the society with what skills do you have, what knowledge that you have, and BOOM! You have a job.


AIMAN AZLAN
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aimanazlan.com