Career Advice From Dev Shah

Is there anything more stressful than trying to figure your career out? These days, careers are much more like a jungle gym than a direct path. Rather than starting out in entry-level sales and eventually progressing to a management position and so on, you may actually switch job duties or industries in order to progress in your career. In many ways, this new kind of “career path” is almost impossible to plan, but there are new ways to think about planning your career. Rather than focusing on the endpoint, think about the other factors of a successful career such as your values, ideal salary, and meaningful work.

Consider following a career role model for inspiration, such as one of the many fictional people also struggling with finding that ideal career. Take our “Who is your fictional career role model quiz?” Then follow along with our series highlighting each of the role models’ career paths and advice they might give.

First, we start with Dev Shah of Master of None. It’s not a coincidence that many people who took our quiz received Dev as their result. The show explores the life of Dev, a 30-year old (read: millennial) actor in New York who doesn’t seem to have life quite figured out – professionally or romantically.

Are you still trying to figure out what you want to do? Do you have a lot of interests that are pulling you in different directions? Dev is a great example of this confusion many people are going through. Throughout the first two seasons, he has worked as an actor in a film, gone to Italy on a mission to learn the art of making pasta, and hosted a cupcake reality show. It’s not until the end of the second season that he comes up with a TV show concept that combines many of his interests. But he’s still a new enough face on television that he has to modify his concept which becomes a buddy food/travel show.

What can we learn from Dev’s career?

You can be creative and have a successful career

The myth of the starving artist is pervasive in our society. If you’re a creative-type, you’ve likely been asked things like “Are you planning on living with your parents forever?” or “How will you live?!?” Many folks with degrees in creative-oriented fields have long, successful careers and Dev is a prime example.

Don’t be afraid to branch out

After a personal setback, Dev chose to uproot his life and learn how to make pasta in Italy. This was clearly driven by his own personal passion for food. Often, we’re told to be cautious, don’t take risks, but without risk there is no reward. Not all of us can afford to drop everything and run away to Italy for months, but taking a class on glassblowing or starting your first novel can be equally rewarding.

Combine interests

Dev takes his love of food and his skill in acting and combines it into a great food travel show with a lot of buzz. It’s clear in filming that he’s truly pursuing what he loves to do and it makes for great television. Do you have interests that seem completely, polar opposite? Or maybe something that you love to do, but don’t know if it’s a full career? Think about ways to combine your skills and interests – you may be surprised at what creative ideas are in your head already!

Handle setbacks with grace

Unfortunately for Dev, he encounters a few professional and personal setbacks. In a few instances, he handles these setbacks in stride. However, at the end of season two, he finds out his boss is not who he seems to be and Dev ends up putting his foot in his mouth on television. Not all of our setbacks will be broadcast in primetime, but handling embarrassing situations never gets easier (at least in the moment). It’s always important to correct yourself, apologize, or make amends, depending on the situation. Then just strive to do better!

Dev provides awesome inspiration for anyone going through career change or simply trying to make sense of modern life. Check out Master of None for more inspiration and stay tuned for our next career role model profile!

Author: Carolyn Noe

Carolyn is the Founder & Executive Director of Super Heroines, Etc. She is a recent transplant to Cincinnati and lives with her husband and her dog. She regularly nerds out about Parks & Rec, Firefly, and Pride & Prejudice.

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