For young adults fresh to the job scene or seasoned professionals voyaging out on a new career path, often the advice they receive is this:
“Pick a career you enjoy, so it’ll never feel like work!”
Well, I think that statement is complete and utter horseshit.
Why, you ask? Well for starters, it’s a huge contradiction. Work is work. No matter how much you enjoy it (or don’t). By definition, work is an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
Yes. It’s extremely, extremely important to like those you work with. It’s important that you’re comfortable in your work environment. It is important to find pleasure in what you do. So no, there’s nothing wrong with the first half of that statement. You should pick a career you enjoy.
But don’t hold your breath, folks. Just because you enjoy it, doesn’t mean it’ll be a walk in the park. It’s still going to feel like work.
And that’s a good thing.
The activity involving mental or physical effort…
Whether you’re a writer or designer, a surgeon or a teacher… you should be good at it. After all, it’s what you do! But no matter what mad skill you’ve so thankfully been graced with, it will still require effort. Both mental and physical. It will require early mornings and late nights, a few shitty days, and a moment of instability or two.
So the question is not a matter of work feeling or not feeling like actual work. Because guess what. No matter how much you LOVE what you do… it’s still going to require effort. And lots of it.
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It’s a matter of that effort (both mental and physical) being worth it.
And that leads everyone from young professionals to entrepreneurs to ask: how do you find a profession that’s worth it?
… done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
What’s your why? Why do you do what you do? Why did you decide to become a writer, a designer, a surgeon or a teacher?
Well, it’s simply not enough to just say you enjoy what you do. Because frankly, there may be days when you downright hate it.
I am a writer, and I enjoy doing it. But as a writer, there are some days I feel like I’ve forgotten how to speak English. There are some days when my chronic writer’s block is so bad I seriously contemplate my sanity.
So, instead, pick a profession you are passionate about. Save your simple enjoyments as hobbies.
By definition, passion means: a strong and barely controllable emotion.
This means that if you’re truly, truly passionate about your work, you will be married to it. Whether you enjoy it or hate it that day. Whether or not you feel compelled to seriously contemplate your sanity because of it.
Basically passion is not just the feeling enjoyment. It’s a feeling of connection. Of purpose. Of achievement. Through living out both the good and the bad.
Because when passion is mixed with profession, suddenly the late hours or the early mornings become worth it.
It’s not a matter of finding an enjoyable profession; it’s a matter of finding one that is worth it. Because whether you’re in finance or marketing or heath care or in the frickin’ circus, you will have good days and you will have bad days. You will have moments of clarity and instability.
The moral of the story here? It’s passion which translates into the feeling of worth so desperately needed.
A Labor of Love
Ultimately, success looks like hard work. And sure, often that hard work is driven by a sense of enjoyment. But it’s also driven by the resiliency that inherently comes with being passionate.
Passion translates into early mornings and late nights. It translates into moments of both clarity and instability. It feels a lot like work… And that’s a good thing.
Looking to land the career of your dreams? Check out:
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