I’ve just read this piece by Thomas L. Friedman. He has won three Pulitzer prizes so I’m pretty sure I have the upper hand here. (He was the Beirut bureau chief in 1982!? Come on! Get a serious journalist on this nerdy stuff.)
I dropped out of school. I was never very good at it. I did well in classes I liked. Anthropology and history among them. Those were the avenues I pursued in university but I dropped out. I chose to go to a technical college to get some credible backing for how good I was at being a computer nerd. What I came away with, after the placement program in particular, was what it meant to be a professional programmer.
It’s corny and it’s dumb but you can often get the job you dream of through sheer hard work. The trick is that the job you dreamed of doesn’t exist. You’ve not made it. You’re not living the dream. You’re working. If you don’t love the work then you’ll not love the job.
Loving the work comes and goes. When you’re riding high everything is terrific. When you’re in a rut it’s all awful. That’s part of the game. You’re a dummy. Sometimes. You’re brilliant some other times.
What does any of this have to do with getting a job? Well, I just laid out the job and if you’re still in then that’s a good first step. The second step is to look for another job. You’re smart. It may well make you much happier. Do it.
If you’re still here then it’ll be rough but it might work out. The truth behind these interviews is that the people who are hiring are looking for dedicated, passionate and remarkable thinkers. You don’t get a short cut to that.