By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger
I was visiting a shul recently. I went over to the rabbi to introduce myself. He asked what I do, and when I answered, “I’m a job-search and career coach,” he asked, “So what field is hot these days?” He looked at me a little funny when I answered, “Any field can be hot.” So he explained, “No, I mean what field do you recommend to people, where they can find jobs?”
I suspect that many people would ask this question and expect me to give my expert vision of the future, or at least a well-considered evaluation of the present. But I will stick to my answer, and I mean it. Any field can be hot or cold. Because you never go searching based on where the job is. Your search for a job begins with who you are.
Law-school graduates have been in the news recently. Many of them can’t find jobs and some are even suing their alma maters, claiming that they were duped into investing years of their lives and huge sums of money, all in pursuit of a mirage. I’m not denying their pain and anger, but does that mean no one should go to law school? No, of course not. There is great demand for lawyers, and there always will be. No, let’s rephrase that. There is not great demand for lawyers, but there is demand for great lawyers, and if someone dreams of practicing law, is blessed with some reasonable talent, and is willing to work very hard to make that dream come true, then law school is a great idea.
You might say, “That’s fine if your dream is law school. Or at least something reasonable. After all, you can’t spend your life doing something silly.” This is true, of course, but it’s really hard to tell what’s reasonable and what’s not. If a successful lawyer wants to give up her career so she can pursue her love, which is baking cupcakes, that’s pretty silly, no? Then visit crumbs.com and see how a woman did just that, and it worked out quite well. (Don’t visit the stores until you check with your rabbi—I’m not endorsing the kashrus, just the concept.) Every wildly successful enterprise that today seems visionary, used to seem, to some people, pretty silly.
Now, let’s be honest about this. That lawyer didn’t drop her briefcase in the trash and start cranking out cupcakes the next day. She spent years developing her business plan, doing research, building skills, and perfecting her products. When she opened her doors, she was ready to run a business and deliver great cupcakes. She did the hard work that turns a dream into reality.
So the Next Big Thing? It exists, inside each of us. Every person has a unique set of talents, interests, background, and motivation that, combined with hard work, will enable him to find and succeed in a job which is emotionally and financially rewarding. Sound like a dream come true? It should, because dreams are what job hunting is all about. v
Rabbi Mordechai Kruger is the founder and director of Pathways to Parnassa, an organization providing job-search and career coaching to our community. He can be reached at email@example.com.