Friday, April 19, 2013

How do you deal with fear of failure?

Paul Agone of All Grown Up wrote a fun guest post this week for another favorite blog of mine, Life After College: 7 Strategic Ways to Un-Succeed. He listed one of the "strategies" that I have the most trouble with.

6. Never Fail

If you’re failing, you’re trying way too hard. If you’re committed to Almost-Success than you should have numerous instances of Almost-Failure as well. You can’t have one without the other.
This is so true.

I worry about failing a lot. What if I lose the job? What if they don't call me back to work here again? What if I develop an unprofessional reputation? What if I get a bad reference?

You have to fail in order to get anywhere. I know that failure must happen before success. I remind myself of this over and over, but still have trouble taking risks. Just because I know failure is okay and necessary doesn't mean that I feel that way.

Does anybody have any special tips on how to psyche yourself out of avoiding failure?



Friday, April 12, 2013

Is Majoring in Science More Practical Than Majoring in Art?

The simple answer is yes, but the world isn't a simple place, so: it depends.

I majored in Creative Writing as an undergrad and couldn't find a job afterwards that would let me pay the rent.

"Well," most people would say, "Duh."

And many of them certainly have.

But what if I had majored in medicine or science or computers or business? Not only am I disiniterested, but they do not employ my strengths as a person. Yes, computers and medicine are where some of the best jobs are right now, but would you want a slow computer repairman? Would you want a nurse who got nervous around needles and blood and open wounds?

In college I carpooled with a guy who liked writing but majored in business. He complained about his business classes all the time, and I always wondered if he was going to complain about having a business as much as he was complaining about learning about business.

So what other major options are there, besides history, philosophy, art, or political science -- all of which are as useless or almost as useless as creative writing? Though Penelope Trunk and I may disagree a bit here on doing what you love, we come up with a similar conclusion.

What I wish I had figured out is how to take what I'm good at (reading, writing, humanities/arts) and choose a major that was related to that but would be more useful in the job market -- like public relations. I have not always wanted to be a PR rep, but PR reps still write and talk to people. The position employs skills that are similar to those needed by journalists, writers, and professors. Working for a PR firm may not be my dream job, but it's something that I would enjoy and be good at.

That's my suggestion -- don't go into a field that you aren't interested in, that you're not good at, just because you can't make a living painting. Do major in what you love. Then maybe try finding an alternate job or career that uses those talents that you enjoy using.

Update: Liberal Arts Graduates Create Careers.