Interested in working in a struggling field? Go for it

I’m working on a story for a major newspaper’s Jobs section. It’s an interesting one, taking a look at people who are entering certain career fields even though those fields are struggling mightily.

I’ve spoken to real estate agents and mortgage lenders, for instance. Both of these fields are going through tough times today. You can tell by all those houses in your neighborhood that aren’t selling.

It would seem like a bad time to jump into either career. But career counselors say this isn’t necessarily the case. At least the ones I spoke with for my story said that.

Here’s the reason: If you’re passionate about a career, or even if you’re truly interested in it, it makes sense to go after it, no matter how that field is doing at the moment. Take the mortgage loan officer. The mortgage-lending business is gasping right now. But a loan officer who’s truly passionate about the industry, who likes the thrill of working on commission and digging up business, is going to be the one who gets that business.

The loan officer who entered the industry during the housing boom because everyone was making a fortune originating mortgage loans, has probably already fallen into a new line of work.

What’s the lesson here? Do what you really want to do, even if people tell you it’s a dead-end industry.