“It’s totally fine to have something that supports your lifestyle and allows you to do the things you like to do. I liked making videos on YouTube, so that’s what I spent my free time doing. In my opinion, the best thing to do is get a job that you’re okay with, and spend all your free time doing what you love doing.” – Jason Fenske from YouTube’s “Engineering Explained”
Showcase Your Passion
How are you spending your free time? As you look for a new job or work at a job you don’t love, is there anything you’re doing to ensure future success or work toward being happier?
Just so you know: Those little passion projects can turn into full-time jobs.
“I wanted to get something on my résumé so I had a talking point during interviews, and I wanted to have something to showcase my passion for [engineering],” says Jason Fenske, the YouTube partner behind “Engineering Explained.” If you want to know a thing or two about how cars work, Fenske has some videos you need to see.
“Well, What Did You Do Here?”
The summer leading up to his senior year at North Carolina State University, Fenske found himself interning for the state. The duties outlined in the listing and during the interviews made the internship sound like it would be a huge opportunity for his future career. Unfortunately, the description did not match up with his responsibilities and it was not going to be the internship he’d envisioned.
“I was told day one that I couldn’t get fired,” says Fenske. “It seemed like that was [my supervisor] saying, ‘Hey, when you feel like you’re sitting around not doing anything, it’s okay.'”
Even if an internship meant a stronger résumé, Fenske was looking to gain real-world experience he could discuss during job interviews. Since his internship wasn’t helping him in that department, he decided to add something else to his plate.
“I thought, if I’m sitting here at this internship and I have no experience that I can make up out of it and I’m in a job interview and they’re asking me, ‘Well, what did you do here?’ and I don’t have anything to say, I’d better have something else on my résumé.”
300,000 Subscribers Later…
Fenske is still working on the passion project he started that summer almost five years ago. Even back then, the move to create his YouTube channel made a lot of sense. In fact, it was a perfect storm of his interests.
“I’d always enjoyed teaching and I’d always enjoyed video. It was a passion about those two things, and I spent a lot of time chatting about car-related things with my friends,” Fenske says. At their insistence, and with their compliments about Fenske’s ability to breakdown complex issues into more understandable nuts and bolts, he created “Engineering Explained.”
With more than 300,000 subscribers, Fenske has done a lot to educate the masses of the internet. Even though his channel means he always has a new car to review and another trip to look forward to, the chance to educate people is still what excites Fenske from day to day.
“That’s what I think [about] in the morning—that I’m helping [to] educate people and that’s what I’m all about,” Fenske says. “I think education is one of the most important things that exists.”
We asked Fenske if he had any advice to offer job seekers. Here are just a few of the things he had to say:
- On skills he wished he would’ve developed earlier: “I guess you never fully appreciate how important writing is until you enter the real world. There [aren’t] really positions where you just do math. Make sure you home in [on] your writing—grammar and spelling—make sure you have it all down. If you can’t do it well, you’re putting yourself at a major disadvantage.”
- On choosing between work and passion: “It’s totally fine to have something that supports your lifestyle and allows you to do the things you like to do. I liked making videos on YouTube, so that’s what I spent my free time doing. In my opinion, the best thing to do is get a job that you’re okay with, and spend all your free time doing what you love doing.”
- On living a fulfilling life: “I think a lot of people think that the only way to live a happy life is to have a career that you love, and so often you may not find a career that you love. It’s just the reality of it. Work is something that humans do to get money so that they can live their lives. You work to be able to do whatever you want to do.”
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This article originally appeared in the Advice & Resources section on CareerBuilder.com, and is part of “I Found My Calling,” a new series by CareerBuilder that highlights people in various occupations who have found success and happiness by pursuing their passion. Each week, we’ll share another inspiring story. Find YOUR career calling now by visiting findyourcalling.com.