You know Mike Rowe? The guy from Dirty Jobs?
He regularly does listener/fan Q&A posts and I read a recent one that really moved me. I think he nailed so much of the challenge I try to work through with my own podcast listeners & Fat Loss Fast Track clients.
If you’d rather listen to this blog than read it, please click here.
Saturday Mail Call
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. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!
My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.
I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.
“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”
“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”
“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”
“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”
“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”
“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”
She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”
Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!
I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?
Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”
These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…
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.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.
Good luck –
PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.
PPS Think I should forward this to Claire?
The reason this story resonated so much with me is because I see the same thing related to nutrition and fat loss all the time.
People are so committed to the obstacles that they cannot see the solution. Or they refuse to.
They are so busy convincing themselves of what they can’t or won’t do – none of their energy is going to what they can or will do.
They want an ideal, but they aren’t willing to do the work to create it.
Do you see yourself in this?
What can you do today to talk yourself into the solution instead of talking yourself into the problem?
I got a bit of practice in this for myself in the form of today’s workout.
It was a pure strength & stamina workout. You can see it below.
As we finished up the squats, my butt was so tired and I said to my partner (who is a a fit, strong coach at my gym) “I’m not sure how those deadlifts are going to go – my legs are feeling pretty smoked.”
But then I realized I was making an assumption that I would struggle. I wasn’t even to the deadlifts yet and I was talking myself out of doing well.
Nope. None of that.
I’m going to give it every ounce of energy I have and that’s all that matters. No stories to the contrary!
The workout was intended to be with teams of 3 but you had to work with someone who lifts similiar weights as you do, so my team was a team of 2.
With every round, the weight increases. We were working with some heavy weight today!
Teams of 2
33 Back Squats
33 Back Squats
AMRAP Back Squats
rest 3 minutes
33 Bench Press
33 Bench Press
AMRAP Bench Press
rest 3 minutes
I felt amazing (and very tired) afterwards! I did even bigger sets on the deadlifts than I thought I’d be able to!
On the food front:
I’m on a serious spaghetti squash kick right now. It’s amazing. Mid-morning I had spaghetti squash with goat cheese and bacon. Odd combo but totally delicious. It’s just what I had on hand in the fridge.
I had an early dinner because I have a webinar tonight – I just made a variation of my cabbage salad bowl, using brussels sprouts instead of cabbage. Today’s master piece was brussels sprouts (cooked) mashed together with eggs, bacon and some Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo.
Also: I placed an order through Thrive Market to get some more Great Lakes gelatin so I can make some bulletproof coffee gummies. More to come on those. Pretty pumped that I saved over $5 on the container of gelatin!
In October 2019, our relationship with Thrive Market changed. They decided to put their marketing dollars in avenues outside of podcasting but we still think they’re a good choice if you’re looking to save money on health & personal care products.