“I may not have a lot of experience, but I’m a fast learner. I have so much passion to bring to a company,” this woman told me. I believed her but wasn’t surprised she couldn’t find a job…Getting to do work you are passionate about is a job benefit employers give you, not a skill you bring to them.”M. Kazakoff, Business Week
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.
Excerpt: Fix Your Résumé…By Miro Kazakoff , Business Week
“A young woman I know did everything right in high school, got into a good private college, and landed a position in corporate marketing for a major retail chain after she graduated. While it was a good, stable job—the kind that makes parents happy—she found it stultifying and unsatisfying. With a solid academic pedigree and good experience, she hit the job market to look for a more fulfilling career. Several months into her search, she was floundering despite a solid job market in Boston. She wasn’t sure why.
This situation is typical of those faced by millennials I talk to. This woman’s job quest mirrors a unique phenomenon of this generation: an obsession with passion and a misunderstanding of its currency in the job market.
Our struggling job-seeker in Boston has formidable passion and commitment, but she described her passion as a skill when she talked to potential employers.
The economists around me at MIT would likely point out that the fields most often aligned with people’s stated passions usually have the lowest median salaries. University teaching, nonprofits, media, and sports management all have many more qualified candidates clamoring for jobs than they have positions.
Cal Newport’s excellent book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You, has a term for this that I find myself using all the time: the “passion trap.”
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Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Have students examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of words and ideas that they think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Tasks
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart by Freeology for assistance.
- A young woman landed a position in corporate marketing.
- While it was a good, stable job— she found it stultifying.
- With a solid academic pedigree she hit the job market.
- She was floundering despite a solid job market in Boston.
- This situation is typical of those faced by millennials I talk to.
- This woman’s job quest mirrors a unique phenomenon of this generation.
- I’ve worked with and taught hundreds of millennials.
- There are many Stereotypes in the job market.
- The job-seeker in Boston has passion and commitment.
- He always talks about his work in terms of the impact it has on other people.
Directions: Review the following statements from the reading. If a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.
- The author states that millennials do not have an obsession with passion.
- The author has interviewed and hired hundreds of millennials in the last five years.
- The woman in the story described her passion as a skill.
- The economists at MIT agree that jobs aligned with people’s passions usually have the highest salaries.
- Cal Newport’s term for this is the “thirst for trap.”
- Harvard University has many jobs available in the field of business.
- The candidates that consistently get hired quickly, are fired the fastest.
- The author knows millennials who dislike the work they’re doing and end up quitting.
- The idea that you should “follow your passion” is new advice.
- The author will write a book about this experience.
Directions: The following sentences are from the article. For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices presented.
Prepositions to choose: of, to, in, on,
The students who are most successful___ the job market describe passion___different terms. Take one professional I know, a social media marketer (not one of the cool ones). The core ___his job involves testing combinations___pictures and advertising copy___see what people will click___. When his client was selling men’s ties, he spent full workdays uploading photos ___necktie-wearing cats___Facebook .
He always talks about his work___terms ___the impact it has___other people, rather than___himself.
III. Post Reading Tasks
Reading Comprehension Check
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.
1. The following three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.
“The economists around me at MIT would likely point out that the fields most often aligned with people’s stated passions usually have the lowest median salaries. University teaching, nonprofits, media, and sports management all have many more qualified candidates clamoring for jobs than they have positions.”
“The candidates that consistently get hired quickly, advance the fastest, and enjoy their jobs are the ones that articulate their “passions” in terms of what they can do for others—and the skills they want to build.”
“Companies hire for cultural fit, so instead of applying for a thousand jobs hoping to get a few interviews, do your homework and zero in on the employers with the culture and the right amount of flexibility and benefits that work for you… If you want to travel often and meet new people, consider a sales or consulting position. If you’re more introverted, and don’t mind looking at a computer all day, then a programming job could work for you.”
2. Describe your ideal job.
3. If you are working, describe your current job.
Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned from the reading, two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.