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Choosing a Career: The 2 Most Common Traps to Avoid

Why do most people not work a job they love? Because they fell into traps while choosing a career. You don't have to be one of them, and I'll show you how.

Ramit Sethi

You want a career you love, right?

One that’s interesting, challenging, financially rewarding, and that makes all of your friends say, “Damn, how did you land that job?”

Everyone wants that kind of a career, but most people settle for a string of jobs.

Why does this happen?

Today I want to introduce you to two common but rarely discussed “traps” that kill most career hopes so you can get past them and choose a career that’s right for you.

Trap #1 – Following your passion

Commencement speakers, career “experts,” and parents throw around “follow your passion” advice all the time. It’s no wonder people believe that if you’re not following your passion, you’re somehow getting it wrong.

But what are you supposed to do if you don’t know what your passion is?

Are you supposed to just sit around and think your way into it? Take some career quiz that’ll spit out a list of jobs you should be passionate about?

Kill me now.

I get so mad when I read most of the career advice out there because it’s unspecific at best, and blatantly wrong at worst. (Don’t believe me, check out the worst career advice ever.)

All of us want to find work we love to do, and then get paid for it, but our passion isn’t just going to fall from the sky – we have to pursue it.

In this video, I explain my take on passion. Pay close attention to 2:22 where I explain where most people go wrong when thinking about passion and how you can take a different approach.

You’ll be much better off if you spend time getting good at something. Once that happens, it’s likely the passion will follow.

Okay, now that you’ve let go of the need to figure out what your passion is, it’s time to take a look at some of the thoughts that might be getting in your way.

Trap #2 – Thinking you need specific credentials to have a career you love

Over the past 11 years I’ve taught hundreds of thousands of people how to save money, earn money, and automate their finances. And I’m not a Certified Financial Planner or CPA.

I’ve also helped thousands of people who lack the “right” credentials and experience find their Dream Job, and I’ve never taken a career counseling or career coaching class in my life.

Yes, sometimes credentials do matter. If you want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, then you better get some initials next to your name, but there are plenty of people who’ve reached the top of their field without racking up a list of traditional credentials and experiences.

So, what separates those who move forward despite their supposed lack of credentials and those who just cross their fingers and hope the perfect career lands in their lap?


When it comes to going after something that feels a little bit out of reach, our invisible scripts hold us back.

Take choosing a career. You’ll often hear people give up before they even start with lines like:

  • “I didn’t go to an Ivy League school so I’ll never get an interview at the company I want to work for.”
  • “I work really hard so I should be given more opportunities. It shouldn’t be so hard to get noticed.”
  • “I don’t know the right people.”
  • “I don’t have the right credentials so I’ll never get a job in my field of choice.”

Sound familiar?

Invisible scripts keep you stuck and prevent you from having a career you love. That’s why the smartest people relentlessly identify and dismantle their invisible scripts. Others let their scripts control them.

Here’s one easy way to start liberating yourself from your scripts: Pretend you’re already perfect.

Pretend you already have the “right” credentials and the “right” experiences for the career path you’d like to pursue.

If this were the case, how would you approach your job search differently?

  • “I’d ask for a meeting with a top performer.”
  • “I’d network more aggressively.”
  • “I’d apply for the job I really want and tell them exactly how I’d change the company in that role.”

No, you may not be perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do all of the things mentioned above. It’s funny how clear people get on the best steps to take when they get rid of the barriers and just pretend they’re already perfect.

When you act as if you’re already perfect, you stop focusing on what you think you’re missing and start moving toward the career you want.

Choosing a career you’ll love

Now that you’ve avoided the 2 key traps that kill most careers, it’s time to actually choose your career — and I have a special bonus for you today that’ll make it really easy for you.

Sign up below and get instant access to my 46-minute video, The 80/20 Guide to Finding Your Dream Job. I go in depth on how to find your dream job and share detailed strategies, mindsets, and stories about how to short-circuit the process that so many people waste time on.

Choose a career you will love. Sign up below to get instant access to my exclusive video, The 80/20 Guide to Finding Your Dream Job

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