You may have heard of this quote before, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” by Marc Anthony. It carries a powerful message that if we do what we love as a job or career, then we will have a very different outlook towards work and what it means to us.
However, I think this is just part of the puzzle. Even if we are lucky enough to get that job, there are still things that we don’t like to do within that job. For example, as a coach, I love the aspects of coaching, writing and speaking. But I am not that keen to work on technical tasks such as tracking analytics on my website or social media. Certainly, there are things I can delegate, but there are things I still need to do myself that I may not necessarily enjoy. It is just part of the experience, just look at the people you love, I bet there are things that you don’t like so much day in day out too.
Then, there is also the distinction between landing a job vs. a career you love. There are many definitions out there, but for me, the primary difference is that a career is something we build over time and it is likely to take many different jobs to establish that career. Look at popular talk show hosts such as Oprah and Ellen, they both had different jobs before their clearly defined career. Oprah started out as a news anchor and Ellen was a standup comedian. Every job gives us certain skills, experience and relationships and we get to see from a certain perspective or vantage point.
Perhaps jobs are like the means to an end. The jobs we had shaped our career at the end of the day.
So instead of putting all the focus on finding a dream job, how about thinking about the bigger picture, consider if the job in front of us is going to add value to our career.
Please don’t get discouraged if you don’t enjoy your current job at all, or it is just an in-between or a responsible way to pay the bills. It’s totally OK. I know we talk about aspirational things here on my blog often, but I am a totally pragmatic person when it comes to the day-to-day matter. You got to do what you need to do, and that actually shapes your character and experience. Just look at where you want to go, keep looking at that direction with your mind and heart.
As we live in the times where people change their jobs every few years or even shorter, our career tends to evolve through time. Compare to my parents or grandparents’ generation, what they started out to learn or to do would normally become their career for life. Besides, with technology advancement, we see new industries or branches within certain industries open up all the time. The global labour marketing is changing its form too, with crowdsourcing and more part-time, freelance employment options become available online.
How to get ready for the future of jobs
Two key points to bear in mind:
1.We need to up-skill and foster a life long learning mentality. As businesses keep changing in a rapid rate and employment trends are shifting in response to these changes, the dream job as we know it may not be there in the future or the skills in demand will change dramatically. Just look the Future of Jobs Report 2018 by the World Economic Forum and see a broader picture. (If you would like me to share more about the future of jobs and skills related research, please comments below. As this is something I am very “passionate” about lately. More about passion later.)
2.We need to know our strength, motivation and interests better. Just going back to the quote at the beginning, if you simply enjoy what you do, the chances are, you’ll feel more motivated and productive because you are interested. It also helps you to not just find a job, but jobs that can support your overall career.
Let’s be honest, when you are interested in something, you may follow that online, offline or go to events on the weekends. It’s on your radar, so you are in the best position to find the right training or see the opportunities when they appear. It is a lot more organic to build a successful career that way. Do you think Bill Gates was genuinely interested in what he was doing or it was just a job for him?
If you don’t know what are your strengths or what motivates you or what professional interests are suitable for you, there are many assessments online or career advisors that may be able to help you. I have done several of these assessments and each time I’ve learned something more about myself.
Recently I’ve gained accreditation for Motiva, which is an evidence-based and outcomes focused career coaching and planning tool. I found Motiva has helped me to look at work satisfaction and motivation very differently. Email info@SzeWingVetault.com if you would like to learn more about this career coaching and planning tool.
Finding Purpose and Passion in Life
One of the books that made a huge impact on my thinking is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. He was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, and a Holocaust survivor. The book is a chronicle about his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity/survival in the camp. I think the mindset you hold for the future directly affects your current experience and aspiration. At the end of the day, when it comes to finding the career you love, I see it as something you can identify as a purpose and contribution you want to make in your life and feeling positive about it.
I don’t think you necessarily need to feel “passionate” about your career, because passion is the feeling we get when we go to do our work. But many things can affect that feeling, such as relationships at work, the environment, the nature of the work you do and what is going on outside of work. I think many of us are stressed out to find a passion outside of us, but in fact, it is the zest of life within ourselves. The key to finding a career that is right for you is to figure out what you enjoy doing, and what gives you energy and satisfaction, and follow that clue and move towards it. Here is my simple roadmap:
- Follow your curiosity and what gives you the sparks.
- Take the most obvious and feasible next step action, no matter how small.
- Then take the next one and then the next one.
- Be consistent. Remember, it is a long game.
- Maintain a growth mindset and surround yourself with like-minded people.
- Just Keep Going.
and while you grow and evolve on your journey, so is you career.
Then one day you’ll realize you’re already in the career that is just right for you.
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