I recently finished a project at work where I interviewed a handful of human resource professionals and hiring managers about the recession’s impact on young adults.
For almost two years the economy has paralyzed recent graduates. Many have been forced to rethink their futures and alter their expectations. Some have found new interests; others won’t give up their dreams. Almost all are following an unexpected path down an uncertain road. Seeing this fallout, experts considered what they might tell teens preparing to enter college.
Their advice: Get a degree of value.
My advice: Follow your passion.
Don’t get me wrong; their advice makes sense. In a time of devastating unemployment, when so many college graduates are without jobs, an accounting or nursing degree appears more likely to lead to a stable job than a degree in history or sociology.
That said, I can’t overlook my own experiences.
Yes, I graduated in a better economic time. But I don’t think it was the soaring Dow or the booming real estate business that landed me my dream job. I think it was my genuine enthusiasm for the degree I chose to pursue and the profession that I hoped to become a part of – journalism.
For as long as I can remember passion is what my parents preached. Both are professionals with advanced degrees (one is a biomedical engineer with a master’s, the other is a physical therapist with a PhD).
Still, as I prepared to head off for college and tried to decide on a major, my parents didn’t focus on a future of touting intellect or chasing wealth. Their consistent message was to pursue something I loved. If I loved what I did, they said, there would never be any question of my success. My passion would propel me to learn, and grow, and excel.
At the time, only some of their message resonated; part of me just heard another in a litany of parental lectures. But if I had one passion it was writing, and with my parents’ support I chose to pursue the creative, low paying, some may say now-dying profession of journalism.
It was the right choice.
People fascinate me. Everyone has a story to tell and uncovering the intricacies of their lives is like opening a new book every day. Journalism offered me the opportunity to use my words to share those people’s experiences with others, while perhaps also offering some insight, education or entertainment.
My enthusiasm for that opportunity came through in my studies, my internship performance, and my job interviews. There is no doubt in my mind that passion is what secured the job offer I received almost eight years ago at The Tennessean.
Now, I work with words for a living. I paint images with nouns and verbs. I impart smells and sounds through similes and metaphors. I capture facts and feelings and put them on paper. And I LOVE it.
It is rare that I wake up on a Monday morning not looking forward to the work week. Every day is a new adventure. So I say to you, find your adventure. Embrace your passion.
— JESSICA BLISS
JBliss went to Greendale High School in Greendale, Wisconsin (a southern suburb of Milwaukee). Past that, J didn’t send me a bio which means I get to write hers.
A former sports writer for The Tennessean, J now finds herself in the lifestyle section. Let me just say this, as a journalism major myself, I was drawn to J and her writing style. So much so that I decided to get a subscription to The Tennessean. I always wanted to be one of those people who woke up in the morning, started the coffee and headed out to get the paper at the end of the walk. I have so enjoyed reading J’s stories. She knows a good story. She knows how to connect with people to bring it out. To read some of her amazing writing, start here.
Beyond just writing, J loves everything outdoor and constantly gives back. I met J through Girls on the Run Nashville a fantastic organization made up of an inspring group of people. J heads up the thing and I have never seen such drive and passion. She walks the talk and as someone who’s parents also preached passion, it’s invigorating to see that following yours actually works! J excells at everything she loves, running, friendships, writing and volunteering. She is a great friend of mine, makes me laugh and someone I deeply respect and admire. She was one of the first people I told about law school and has been one of my greatest supporters since. Everytime I get nervous she is there cheering me on reminding me to follow my passion.
There is also a Baby Bliss on the way which I couldn’t be happier about! She is going to be such a great mother. I’ve lost my morning running buddy for now but I know we will be running together soon with the stroller in tow when I come back into town.
About this series: This is one of a series of guest posts in May that will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.