Don’t do something you’ve GOT to do, do something you GET to do

by Jan 4, 2021

My housemate is an avid sports fan. For me, this means getting woken up early on Sunday mornings to the dulcet tones of mixed martial arts, spending too many evenings watching documentaries about players he can’t believe I haven’t heard of, and avoiding invites to “go shoot some hoops”. Every once in a while, though, my housemate will hit me with a sports-related pearl of wisdom that I just can’t dismiss. 

Most recently, he pointed me to a video of sportscaster Ernie Johnson Jr making the commencement speech at the University of Georgia. In it, he speaks about the difference between choosing a career that just ticks the boxes – salary, connection to studies or previous work, room to grow – and one that you’re actually passionate about.  

He puts it like this: 

“I hope you will recognise the difference as your careers begin and continue: the difference between ‘get to’ and ‘got to’. Because too many people have jobs they’ve got to go to, [but] some of us have jobs we get to go to. I hope your job is one of those ‘get to’s.” [x] 

Despite the fact that I normally ignore sports-related advice, this one really hit home. I’ve had my own fair share of ‘got to’ jobs, as well as some ‘not-dream-but-pretty-awesome‘ roles, all of which have been fulfilling and helpful in their own ways, but certainly didn’t make me feel excited to go to work every day. 

These roles are the dream and they can be hard to find, so how do you land that perfect ‘get to’ job?  


Put pen to paper 

The first step to finding your dream job is to know what your dream actually is. It might sound simple, but thinking about and actually listing your passions can be deceptively hard.  

Making a shortlist of the specific things you’re interested in  like cooking, sport, reading, etc. — might lead you to a dead end; instead, try thinking about general areas that you’re passionate about. Having these ‘themes’ (like social justice, entrepreneurship, entertainment and the like) in mind will open up options for your future career and help you find that perfect intersection between ‘got to’ and ‘get to’. 


Tick off the ‘got to’ 

One of the things you have to think about when looking for a job is all the boring bits. It’s all well and good to find a position that’s ideally suited to your passions, but if it doesn’t pay, or doesn’t offer good work-life balance for example, it’s unlikely to work out in your favour. 

In order to find the perfect role for you, it’s important that you also think about the things that are non-negotiable in a job. These things will differ for each person. For me, a flexible work environment, supportive team, and of course decent pay make it into the ‘essential’ list. Others might find that things like a short commute or childcare options are a necessity in their dream role. 


Work your way up 

It might not be as exciting as landing your dream job as soon as you think of it, but the reality is most roles require a bit of previous experience. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to do the ‘got to’ jobs to land your ideal ‘get to’ role. Don’t let that discourage you: remember that every new job you undertake is preparing for your future career, even in a small way. You might hate waiting tables at your local café, but it’ll teach you people and communication skills, prepare you for working under pressure, and maybe even give you unexpected connections. 

If you spend time building a network, and rely on advice from those in your field, you’ll be working towards your ideal ‘get to’ job in no time.  


At the end of his commencement speech, Ernie Johnson Jr reads from the often-quoted Dr Seuss book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! So, for your daily dose of inspiration to land that perfect get to’ job: 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”


Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Lily Cameron

Lily Cameron

Communications Assistant

Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a UTS Communications (Creative Writing) graduate, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.