Career Advice: Why ‘Do What You Love’ Is Only Partly RightPosted: 28th of January 2016 by
“Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life,” say hundreds of online quotes and memes about what job to choose. These wise words (or something like them) have been repeated by careers advisors, experts, and popular psychologists for years and, on the surface, it seems like good advice. Why work doing something you hate each day of the week when you can do something that you enjoy? It’s hardly rocket science (unless of course, it IS rocket science), but it only tells part of the story.
You see, personally I quite like sitting on a beach somewhere warm, perhaps sipping on a cool drink while I read a book or sit back and listen to some music. If you can find me a job doing that I’d be there in a shot – but I reckon someone already has all those jobs sewn up – you know billionaire playboys, ‘it-girls,’ and the like…
That is not to say that some people don’t have jobs they adore – whether they are conservationists or cartoonists, musicians or models. But sometimes, and sometimes in the meantime, you might need to look elsewhere for work.
Knowing what your motivation for working is will help you decide what to look for, but it is all much better if you can get aspects of your working life to match with your own interests. There are two ways to do this – environment and duties, and ideally you want to try and find both if possible.
Your working environment is very important – it is where you will spend a great deal of your time each week, and you may see your colleagues for longer each day than your own family! You need to feel happy and comfortable at work, not only will it help your working day go by it will also make you more productive. Miserable workers are generally less productive too. Therefore it is in an employer’s best interests to look after the working environment. But it is not just the fixtures, fittings, and amenities that are important to your environment.
If you know what work skills employers want you may find that you can use them in some pretty interesting places. For example, you may not have the talent to make it as a professional footballer, but could you work at your favourite football club? Many businesses have a variety of roles to fill from accounts to customer service or H.R. Working in a field that you are interested in may make an otherwise mundane job exciting, and you never know – there could be a chance to move to another area of the business!
When it comes to your duties it is important to try and find something about the job that you enjoy – and the more the better. Even if you are not working in your ideal environment, you may love the work you do. It could have an enjoyable creative edge, or you may love the fact that you feel you are making a real difference. You may not enjoy everything about your job (that’s why they call it ‘work’ rather than ‘fun’) – but the more you can enjoy the better your time will be.
The people you work with also make a big difference. The best people can make the worst job great to be at, while even the most desirable job can fall flat if you are surrounded by idiots!
While the standard advice is to look at what jobs you might love to do, it is also worth bearing in mind what you would hate doing. Getting to know yourself will help you choose the right job, although there is nothing like getting some experience either. Don’t be afraid to try something out – you can always look for a different job later – or alternatively you can give yourself a taste of what to expect by volunteering.
You don’t have to find a job that you love 100% - just enough to make it work for you!
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