Having a Great Career

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Raymond Fur
4-17-13
Ted Talks
Larry Smith: Why you will fail to have a great career (15:15)

This video features Larry Smith, a professor of economics at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Professor Smith gives a very passionate and very direct presentation telling his audience why they are not going to have great careers. He first distinguishes between great careers and good careers. He describes good careers as, “stressful”, “blood sucking”, and even “soul destroying”, but which may offer good pay. He describes that great careers are those in which you are happy working and are greatly successful. He then points out the general idea that the only people who achieve great careers are those that follow their passion.

When talking about passion, he puts a large emphasis to his audience on what the definition of passion is. He points out that many people have “interests” and may think they are passionate about a topic. However, he states that a person’s passion is their deepest love. Passion is what you really want. He then gives the main reasons why people to not follow their passions. He says because people are too lazy, it may be too hard, or they think they will look stupid if they fail.

Another point professor Smith made, was explaining the most commonly used excuse to not follow ones passion, as well as the most troubling to him. He says that the excuse people use most commonly is interpersonal relationships. He explains that many people say they want to follow their passion, however it is important for them to be good a good friend, a good spouse, or a good parent. He describes this as using loved ones as a shield to stop them from following passions. He described a situation where a person talks to his child about his new dream to become a magician. Professor Smith says that if you do not attempt your dreams, you are likely to shoot down your children’s dreams, and begin to give them excuses not to follow theirs. Professor Smiths main point he wanted to get across during is presentation was that you should never have the phrase, “If only I had…” in your head. Basically saying, there is no excuse to have any regrets about what you do during your professional career.

The title of this video caught my eye immediately. As a senior in college, I am preparing to begin my professional career after graduation. I was interested to know what reason(s) there could be that I could not have a great career. After only a few moments of the speech, I could sense Professors humor and sarcasm. I realized that he was attempting to give the audience their excuses in an attempt to encourage them to think they could do otherwise.

Listening to the part of his speech about passion was very interesting to me. I thought about it a lot because I often think about the importance of doing something I am passionate about as a career. As an accounting major, I believe I do have the knowledge and ability to work in the field of accounting. I also think that it is the potential for a great career path. However, I would not say it is something I am particularly passionate about. Professor Smith said that a person’s passion is what their deepest love is, and what they want more than anything. I would not say that Accounting fits either of those descriptions at all. So maybe by his definitions, accounting is an interest to me rather than a passion. However, I have thought about this before and how I could enjoy accounting as a profession. I realized it is important to me to be a part of an organization that I am proud of. I have an interest in possibly pursing an accounting career with a sports team. I could also attempt to find accounting work for a company that I am familiar with and enjoy outside of accounting. I believe either of these two scenarios would make accounting far more enjoyable to me, and I could be passionate about being involved in.

I enjoyed hearing what professor Smith had to say. He was very charismatic and...
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