Shouldn't My Hard Work Result in a Decent Job?
‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com. Dear J.T. & Dale: Since I fulfilled my academic dream (got a degree in anthropology and studied in Kenya), I've done archaeology work, been a mural painter and was an intern for an arts organization. The internship turned out to be a flop, though I loved the other interns and the project we worked on. I felt so used. In this current economic time when volunteering for your dream position is a new fad, I've been doing it all my adult life. I'm 29 and, geez, I need to be able to support myself and my son. Is it crazy for me to think all my hard work of studying, networking and volunteering should result in some sort of decent job? — Emma Dale: No, not crazy. Studying, networking and volunteering can result in a decent job ... if, you study for, network in or volunteer with people and organizations who offer decent jobs (or know people who do). While you follow your passion, you must keep asking yourself the key question, "Where does this passion intersect the economy?" J.T.: I suggest to you, Emma, a free e-book I wrote you can download at the homepage of my career website, www.careerealismclub.com — it's "The 10 NEW Commandments: Secrets to Success in an Uncertain Economy." It's this commandment that you brought to mind: "SAVE or MAKE money...that's it." Right now, companies only hire talent who can save them enough or make them enough to justify the salary. Dale: I picture you, Emma, shaking your head, thinking, "But you just don't understand — I'm talking about art." We do understand. Really. But if you want to get paid, you must find where art intersects money. If you can write successful grant proposals, you've found an intersection. If you can sell art supplies, you've found another. If you can paint window signs instead of murals, there's one more. If you find a brilliant young jewelry designer and offer to be her sales rep to stores, you've got an entrepreneurial one. J.T.: Ask, "What would employers pay good money for right now?" and you'll find yourself tapping into the law of supply and demand. Dale: You'll soon be supplying a good job that's in demand instead of hoping someone will supply a nice salary for jobs that good people will do for free. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Photo credit: Shutterstock