I have this friend. He’s not a dumb guy, but not at all that ambitious, either. He took this past year off after being fired from his last job and hasn’t put much effort into finding a new one. I spoke with this friend about his future goals, as far as finding a job or starting a career goes, and he confirmed my concern: He doesn’t really care what he does, as long as he can make some money -- not even good money, just some money.
I realized this friend hadn’t yet found his passion. What surprised me, though, was that the reason he didn’t care about what he would do next was that he didn’t think it was possible for him to find a job he would love. He thought he could find something he somewhat enjoyed, or just didn’t hate. He wasn’t concerned with finding a job he would love and be passionate about.
I am not certain when we made the distinction between work and the other aspects of our lives, but it is the belief that the two must be separate, which has most people living lives they aren’t pleased with. It isn’t that we should find jobs that will make us happy, but instead, we should find an active lifestyle that will make us happy.
Why do we believe that work must feel like work? Why do we believe that there must be a clear distinction and separation between our working lives and our personal lives? Our work is personal, or at least it should be. Unless the work you do is personal to you in some way, you’ll never feel passionate about it. Passion is rooted in the meaning found in the work we do.
When it comes to looking for a career or job of some sort, it’s clear to me that most people have a backwards understanding of how to go about finding the right fit. Instead of taking the time to understand what is important to them and what actions they find meaningful, people look around for what jobs are popular or are available. They look outwards in order to find something reflective of what can only be found inwards.
If you’re searching for a career, anything, that is right for you, why not start within yourself? What is important to you? What would give your life meaning? What good can you do that will make you feel like the life you are living is a successful, purposeful one? What do you need to do -- at least attempt to do -- that will make your life worth living? Start there and you’ll notice that it’s much easier to come up with a path worth following. The only thing left is to believe that you won’t fail.
When I heard my friend say that he didn’t believe he could ever love a job, I understood it to mean that he doesn’t believe he will be successful enough to love his job. We have to be honest with ourselves: Often, what we love most is what we are best at. Applying our strengths to our work makes us feel good because it gives our ego a pat on the back every time we engage.
The better we are at something, the more likely we are to love doing it. Sure, there are those who love doing things they might be dreadful at, but they dub those things "hobbies." There’s surely at least one thing you’re good at, one thing you enjoy doing very much and you can make a living from. Start here and then make adjustments along the way as you better learn what you like doing and what you don’t. If you can’t find such a job, create one.
Who ever told you to settle for a job already on the market? Innovation is what drives the human race forward. There will be careers and positions in 20 years that don’t exist today. There will be entire industries in the future that are currently in infancy, or haven’t even surpassed the brainstorming phase due to lack of current technology.
As the world gets smaller, the living standards are increasing, creating new markets, new innovation and new possibilities. If there were ever a time to get creative and create a job -- a life -- for yourself that you are passionate about, that you love and can’t live without, it’s now. Take this opportunity to either find or create a career for yourself that you are eager to devote your life to.
There is something out there for everybody. Get to know yourself, get your hands dirty and try different things and, most importantly, be honest with yourself. There’s no point in wasting time doing something you can’t stand. Your work should be a part of your life… not separate from it.
Photo credit: "The Aviator"