Daring to Dream: For graduates, chasing your dreams sometimes means doing what you dislike

Ross Johnson
Alumni Reporter

        Megan Arnold, a 2009 Principia College graduate, recently visited the college to share her experience in the working world. She not only gave a talk in Wanamaker, but also attended a senior-level mass communications class to speak to students about how the major has helped her in Advertising/Public Relations.

When a student asked Arnold for advice regarding the pursual of a dream job, Arnold replied, “I would say do what you’re good at, not what you want to do.”

Arnold’s answer to this inquiry raised a lot of questions amongst students in the class.

Americans tend to encourage their children to “follow their dreams,” but how often are people who do this actually successful?

        The most popular podcasts on iTunes indicate that Americans are constantly looking for the motivation to chase a career of their dreams, regardless of age. Podcasts like “Quit Your Day Job” focus solely on the techniques it takes to secure one’s dream job. NPR, Freakanomics Radio, and WYNC studios all have multiple stories about chasing the American Dream, changing careers, opening businesses, and more.

     Books, magazines, movies, TV shows, posters, interviews – they all cover how people made it big, what they did to find that niche area ripe for making money, the process of getting started, the best way to ensure continued success, the constant struggles, and the glory that accompanies success.

According to “Quit Your Day Job,” 80% of Americans work in jobs that don’t make them happy. Unfortunately, switching careers is rarely ever easy.

Entrepreneur Miki Agrawal says, “It takes ten years to be an overnight success.” As Arnold announced during her lecture in Wanamaker, devoting oneself to his/her dream job is not always the best option.

Arnold herself moved to Hollywood, but soon realized that it would take a ton of time, money, and effort to even secure a low-level position in behind-the-scenes film work. As a result, she made the decision to give up on film-making and find a job where she would be wanted. She took over marketing for a 3-D printing company in Boulder, Colorado and now her responsibilities reflect the trust placed in her.

Arnold leads and works with a number of people, ensuring that the marketing team is hitting the targets they are reaching for as well as maintaining the clients they already have. The company cares for Arnold and is even helping her to get her Master’s Degree from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Arnold is working for a company and people who want her, which is something that can be just as important as pursuing one’s passion. Happiness in the workplace is an increasingly desired factor among Americans, even rated above pay for some. As graduates venture out into the job world, they would do well to remember the foundational idea of Arnold’s statement: go where you will be happiest.

 

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