Last week, I wrote about the scary statistics of underemployment and unemployment for recent graduates.

This week, I’m telling you to disregard that data. Yes, disregard all of that depressing statistical garbage you’ve been reading.

While you should realize that some jobs don’t have high job placement rates (or high salaries), at the end of the day, you’ve got to pursue what makes you happy. Just because the numbers are a little frightening doesn’t mean you won’t be the exception to that rule. The truth is that the more you love something, the more you’ll want to work to succeed and attain your goals. If you’re not passionate about your career, you’re just not going to have that fire inside of you to work hard.

For example, journalism (my career of choice) has lots of frightening statistics out there. But, regardless of what the world seemingly wants prospective journalism students to think, there are actually a lot of opportunities out there for journalism students. Check out this column from Forbes on why journalism rocks.

Instead of focusing on numbers, focus on what you can do to stand out to potential employers. You’ll need as many internships and opportunities on your resume as possible. Can’t find an internship? Try volunteering for a nonprofit that relates to your potential career. Or maybe try to pursue something on your own. For example, if you’re trying to find a job in photography or design, start doing freelance work for friends and family to put on your portfolio website. If you build up your experience, it will be impossible not to hire you, even if jobs are harder to find in your area of work.

And even if you decide to follow the career of your dreams, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with it forever if you figure out that it’s not for you. I love the advice I found in this Fortune Magazine column, where Anne Fisher interviewed Pete Leibman, author of “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You: 7 Steps to Creating Your Ideal Career After College”:

If you end up working in the movie business and at some point decide that it isn’t what you hoped, “remember, a job is not a life sentence. You can change directions at any time — and in fact, most people change jobs, and even careers, a number of times throughout their lives.”

You are never forced to stay in one career just because you feel like you should want to. Your happiness is much more important than any paycheck can offer. There are so many things that are important than crunching the salary numbers. Want proof? Check out this list of “The Happiest Jobs in America” by Career Bliss. Some of these jobs aren’t the highest-earning positions out there, but that’s not what matters to these employees.

Don’t talk yourself out of a career just because you think you won’t be able to find a job or make a lot of money. I’m a big believer that you can get whatever you set your mind to, as long as you’re willing to put in lots of hard work to get there.

After all, nobody ever got to the top by saying, “I can’t.” They got there by saying, “How can I?”

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