Today, I’m compelled to address the age-old sentiment, “Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life!” I’m sorry for the language (get used to it or find another blog) but I call bullshit. This affirmation may come true for a handful of lucky or exceptional souls, but for the rest of us, we’re working where we find a paycheck, not a passion.
So if you’re young and just starting out, or you’ve been in the workforce for a while and feeling stuck, chin up, because this does NOT mean you’re wasting time. I have a suggestion that may help you learn to love your job. Today’s hack:
YOU'RE good at what you do because you love it OR YOU love what you do because you’re good at it.
I know that can sound a little circular, so read it again and get clear on the two difference concepts. Ok, all clear? Good. This hack is about the second category because that’s where us unlucky bastards fall (back to the bullshit affirmation). Someone once said to me, "Competence creates confidence." It’s true, so it stuck. But then competence can become skill, and skill can become expertise. And it’s kind of hard NOT to like something that we’re really good at, right?
So you weren’t lucky enough to develop a passion for computer engineering at the age of twelve and are now at a job that “doesn’t fit” you (or your recently obtained degree), so what? You’re there. And I don’t care if it sucks because you have a bachelor’s degree in finance and are working at your local Verizon store, or because the investment bank where you landed your dream job is filled with jerkweeds – it doesn’t matter. YOU ARE THERE. Get good at it. Because if you do, odds are you will start enjoying it.
Start looking around for the people who are respected, or treated like experts in the areas where your responsibilities lie. Watch them. From afar if it’s all you have access to, or directly if it’s appropriate. Either way, find out why they’re good, then absorb and emulate what you can. You are surrounded by valuable human resources – find them, get to know them, use them.
Volunteer for as much extra work as you can (productively) handle. This is what experience starts to look and feel like. The more you do, the better you’ll get. The better you get, the more you’ll be able to do. It becomes a non-vicious cycle of accelerated learning.
While you’re getting better at your job, you’re also increasing your options. Company leaders take notice of people who work hard AND do good work. So if getting awesome doesn’t make the jerkweeds easier to take, then take comfort in knowing your budding expertise is also fueling the exit strategy you can more quickly put in place (by leaving the department or leaving the company). People who are good at their jobs almost ALWAYS have other job options. And usually enjoy what they do for that paycheck.
I hope this helped, now go get shit done.