No one said getting to where you want to be would be easy. From an early age, most people dream of a career that is compatible with a combination of their skill set and vision. Some are fortunate enough to become doctors, lawyers, business executives, and entrepreneurs while others work eight hours or more at an occupation that wasn’t exactly chosen for passion, but for survival.
We often get caught in the cross fire of obtaining a job that may not be a depiction of our perception of what our present should look like. A diverse work experience, education, and a polished personal brand are often key ingredients to entering a field and sometimes may be missing in the job search process.
So we settle, trudging half-heartedly to a job every day that is hardly a reflection of the dream of employment that we cultivated. A Gallup report tells us that in the United States, 70 percent of workers are unengaged primarily because of direct superiors or because they do not feel inspired or compassionate at work.
Sound familiar? Before you begin to feel helpless, check out five hip-hop songs that will help you stay grounded until you get in a position to obtain your dream job and teach you a few lessons about the workplace.
5. “One Day” by B.o.B
“I know one day, I won’t have to wait in line
I know one day, I’ma get keys to that new ride
I know one day I’ll be fine
And I know one day I’ll get mine
And I know one day, hell it might be Monday” – B.o.B
Atlantic Records/Grand Hustle rapper B.o.B reflects about his life growing up in Decatur, GA with the optimism of being in a stable position “One Day” despite the challenges he faced living in poverty. He felt trapped with no way to get him and his family out of their financial situation and often pushed himself to make his dreams a reality. He accredits his success to constant prayer, the ability to perfect his craft by performing at after school mic nights and producing demos.
Lesson: Those that are in not-so-perfect job situations can gain motivation from B.o.B’s chilled sonnet by continuing to hone the skills that are related to their dream job. B.o.B gained success by alluding that situations in life can be temporary – if you strive to make power moves that bring you closer to your dreams. When you have a day at work that makes you feel trapped, immerse yourself into thoughts about a future that YOU will dictate…one day.
4. Superstar by Lupe Fiasco ft. Matthew Santos
“The world brought me to my knees, what have you brung you?
Did you improve on the design? Did you do somethin’ new?
Well your name ain’t on the guest list, who brung you?” – Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco released “Superstar” in 2007 on his sophomore album Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool with folk and rock singer Matthew Santos. The two eloquently highlight the highs and lows of becoming famous, with Lupe trying his best to maintain his modest, laid-back, and cool attitude towards his newfound stardom. Lupe questions his contributions to the world by reflecting if he has pioneered improvements in the industry. He also expresses feelings of being uncomfortable and getting away from his situation when he spits, “So chauffeur chauffeur come and take me away, I’ve been standing in this line for like five whole days.”
Lesson: Although we all may not become rap superstars, Lupe Fiasco highlights an important lesson. When most people envision their dream career, they envision the success that comes with the position. Often, when people enter what they thought was a dream job; they find it was not all what it was cracked up to be for a multitude of reasons – the feeling of self-fulfillment is not present, the work environment may be toxic, or they lack the skills to truly make a contribution their to respective fields. While you are striving to obtain your dream job, begin to note what makes you tick and what makes you flourish so that you can evaluate the career that is best for your growth and success by your own standards.
3. “Git Up, Git Out” Outkast ft. Goodie Mobb
“You need to git up, git out and git something
Don’t let the days of your life pass by,
You need to git up, git out and git something,
Don’t spend all your time tryin’ to get high,
You need git up, git out and git something,
How will you make it if you never even try?
You need to git up, git out and git something,
Cuz you and I got to do for you and I.” – Outkast ft. Goodie Mobb
The 1994 southern collaboration between Outkast and Ce-lo Green and Big Gripp of Goodie Mobb conveys a message to rise above rough situations and avoid giving into the dangerous pressures of not being where you want to be. Celo begins the first verse by expressing that he believes that he is a failure in the eyes of others and often lays around depressed. He cherishes his music as his only hope and says that every job he gets is “cruel and demeanin” and he’s sick of takin’ trash out and toilet bowl cleanin’.” The rest of the collaborators follow suite and tell their individual stories of fighting the oppression that surrounds them in their environment.
Lesson: “Git Up, Git Out” was released twenty years ago; however, its message is consistent in 2014. The frustration of not being where you desire can cause depression and a willingness to engage in activities that may jeopardize your mental state, health, and ability to get (or keep) a job. If you find yourself pursuing activities (yes, recreational drugs are considered activities) to combat failure, reevaluate your situation. You may find that complacency is the foundation of your feelings of defeat. Get up, get out and find avenues that won’t show up on a drug test or delay your ability to reason and navigate towards a happier future in a more fitting career.
2. “Started From the Bottom” by Drake
“I done kept it real from the jump,
Living at my mama’s house we’d argue every morning’
I was trying to get it on my own,
Working all night, traffic on the way home,
And my uncle calling me like, “Where ya at?
I gave you the keys told ya bring it right back,”
I just think it’s funny how it goes,
Now I’m on the road, half a million for a show
And we…started from the bottom, now we here.” – Drake
“Started from the Bottom” launched on Drake’s “October’s Very Own” blog early 2013 to kick off his album Nothing was the Same. The song reflects a struggling Drake, who, despite accusations of critics, did not “buy” his way to the top. Drake references his “team” and claims that when one person achieves their goals everyone involved in the process will reap the benefits of the person’s success. The song’s music video further depicts a fictional journey that includes Drake being promoted to a Night Manager at a Toronto Shoppers’ Drug Mart and eventually flying in a jet and hosting a party with multiple attendees.
Lesson: Started from the Bottom teaches us two things: 1) Never forget where you have come from and 2) Always acknowledge and give back to your support system. Drake uses his past as motivation to keep pushing toward his goals. If you come from a past with blemishes that affects your ability to advance with employment, find a lesson in your mistake and use it as a selling point of becoming a better person. If you are fortunate enough to have friends, family, mentors, colleagues etc. to support you, use this as a reason to keep striving. Others believe in your success and when you reach a point that is satisfying, show gratitude and give back to their endeavors to the best of your ability.
1. “Doin’ My Job” by Jon Connor
“The whole staff like it’s life or death over fast food,
Every morning saying short prayers in the bathroom,
Lord, please tell me you know I don’t wanna be here,
The faster I get money then the faster I can leave here,
Put a smile on your face, do it for the team’s sake,
They hated I had a dream outside of flipping cheese steak,
Always tried to deter me saying no way I could beat the odds,
Music was my passion, that was just a f*****g job.” – Jon Connor
2014 XXL Freshman Class newcomer Jon Connor depicts his 9-5 work journey while simultaneously aiming to infiltrate the music industry with his relatable, storytelling rhymes on the Kanye West produced track, “Doin’ My Job.” The self-proclaimed “People’s Rapper” starts his work journey at 17 years old by working at a pizza shop as a dish washer to save money for studio equipment. He later gets another job at 20 and recalls the issues he had with co-workers ranging from his work performance to racism on the job. He ends the song, describing a manager at a third job that ridiculed his dream of becoming a rapper by considering it to be unpractical. He eventually ends the song with triumph by recalling a phone call from someone who was in awe that he made it into the industry.
Lesson: Jon Connor’s message is clear – keep your eyes on the prize. He invested the money earned from his jobs to invest in his future in music while avoiding the negativity around him from others at work that were aware of his long-term goals. It is important that while you work, you do not share your professional goals with everyone because your co-workers and colleagues may not have your best interest at heart. Connor always emphasizes that the work that he did was far from minuscule and respected those who made careers out of the jobs he worked. Show humility through the storm; although you may not have your dream job, you are employed. Use your employment to survive but continue to grind.
After all, what you WANT to do is your passion; your current work situation is just a job.
Is there a song that you think should have made the list? Tweet me @TheWriteGirl_ to school me on hits that can teach us a thing or two about working!
Whitney L. White is a hip-hop and professional development fanatic and loves to find lyrics that can teach lessons about job searching, career advancement and the workplace. She strongly believes in following your passion and strives to encourage others to look at unhappy job placements as temporary. You can rock with her on thewritegirlblog.com to read more!