Hi There!

I hope your Tuesday is going well. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Ash, where I interview WatchMojo Founder & CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan and interview him on various things, ranging from covering what is going on in the news, to career advice for students & entrepreneurs.

Today’s topic is following your passion. I feel that sometimes for me, and other people, we can be afraid to follow our passion, whether it would lead to a career, or as a hobby. This could be because of several reasons, however, I think it is important to understand the fact that there is a process to determining what your passion is and how to pursue it. I wanted to get Ash’s thoughts on if he would give the advice of following their passion when looking for a job.

Q) Students often hear about the importance of following their passion when looking for a job. Is that advice you would give young grads?

It’s easy for successful people to tell people to follow their passion. Passion is a tenet of idealism, whereas the job market is rooted in reality, with reality being rooted in demand versus supply.

The success for 99% of “normal people” (not people who inherit a fortune, or are crazy enough to pursue and succeed in entrepreneurship) is very simple:

1) Determine what is your Comparative Advantage, i.e. what you are good at or better than most,

2) Determine if the demand vs supply dynamics is in your favor, i.e. if 100 people can fill 1 job opening, that isn’t the best place to focus on,

3) Determine if that is something that you can get paid for (or build a business around, if you are in the 1% of insane people who want to be an entrepreneur).

4) Then as a “nice to have,” hopefully it’s something that you enjoy and/or are passionate about… if interested to hear more on that, you can watch the WatchMojo Lady and I discuss it here.

Thus, my solution would be for education and training costs to reflect demand in the economy and marketplace. For example, if tradespeople are in demand, subsidize that education or make its training free; if everyone wants to become an architect, make that more expensive, and so on.

A decade ago, I would see headlines about “journalism degrees being worthless.” Having hired a lot of graduates with journalism degrees, I would tell them to ignore those headlines, that journalism taught them storytelling which would only grow more valuable in a future where fragmentation would soar. However, I would caveat that by saying that with the democratization of content creation and the challenges of traditional media, the demand versus supply dynamics were not, indeed, in their favor, so they would need to marry their training with something to stand out and play with a stronger hand.

The problem right now is the cost of education is more or less the same when the demand (and thus wages) is different on the other side. It gives a false sense of hope and security to students who pursue collegiate studies and generally come out indebted on the other side. At all times, there are in fact two job markets. One job market is a glut of people with degrees and education that are not really in demand, and on the other side, a job market with job openings that cannot be filled due to too few candidates capable of doing the job. Watch Fox in the Henhouse, to discuss the role of entrepreneurship in addressing the wealth gap:

Lastly, if you want to ask Ash questions directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: