How often do you choose work that scares you?

Today is January 30 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you choose work that scares you?”

Today’s hyper-competitive, dynamic, and ever changing economy presents numerous challenges for anyone looking to launch or sustain their career. College senior Parker Hall wrote to Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame stating “I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do… want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel.”

In Hall's defense, many higher education institutions stress that you can attend their college and get a dream job upon graduation. Unfortunately today's chaotic global marketplace often requires a different strategy when launching a career. Rowe’s response was most likely not what Hall expected. In fact, Rowe’s advice runs contrary to the often proclaimed ‘do what you love’ mantra of today by writing:

“Stop looking for the right career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.”

As you take any job to learn what it means to become indispensable, add the words of Mary Tyler Moore to your pursuit “Looking back on it, I realize that I have always chosen work that challenges me, because if I don’t go in to work a little scared, I don’t have any interest in it."

Do you choose assignments that get you a little scared in order to grow?

Or are you waiting for some perceived perfect job that will make you happy?