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Monday, February 13, 2006
Do You Love Your Job?
Tomorrow is that big-stressor holiday – Valentines Day – where hopes flourish and worries abound. Did you get the right present for your honey? Does the present send the right message? Should you go with the funny card or the mushy one? Decisions, decisions, decisions. One decision you should be comfortable with is your job decision. Are you in love with your job? Are you cheating on the side just to get some job satisfaction? Do you sit and stare at centerfolds of college catalogues dreaming of that perfect, airbrushed career? Do you speak the love-language of your true career?

I have been fortunate in my career history to always have had the ability to work in something that I love. I’ve also turned hobbies into work so I could have fun and earn a paycheck at the same time. Unfortunately, I meet so many clients who come to our firm because they are unhappy with their work. They are stuck in a career field in which they’ve lost interest or into which they were railroaded by external forces. They are in work environments that are unpleasant or unhealthy. How can these people find the work they love?

Here are some tips to find your true career love:

Ask “What did I want to be when I was a kid?” Okay, that’s pretty simplistic but it works. As kids, we weren’t concerned about issues such as income potential, promotion opportunities, or relocation requirements. We were just looking at the fun side of jobs. Many of us wanted to be superheroes or firemen, doctors or teachers. What was it about your childhood career aspirations that appealed to you? Was it helping people? Was it being in charge? Was it excitement and glory? These are the underlying motivations to our careers. Look at these things when searching for your career love.

What are your hobbies? Can you turn what you like to do for fun into a career? I have a friend whose son is twelve. He has started volunteering at a raptor rehabilitation center on the weekends where he feeds and cares for hawks, owls, and kestrels. When he turns fourteen, he plans to apprentice with a master falconer to become an apprentice falconer and learn to train hawks, kestrels, and falcons. Six months ago he wanted to be a fighter pilot, but now he is considering working in wildlife management, even though the glory is not there or the salary.

Apprenticeship is something that has largely gone by the wayside in employment these days. In the earlier part of our history, and up until the middle decades of the last century, most people in our country learned their trade through apprenticeship. By learning a career at the side of a mentor or master journeyman, workers often get a better education in a craft, trade, or art than if they went through formal educational channels. If you have something that interests you, make the effort to learn about it from experts. You might be surprised at the options that are open to you for building a true career out of what you thought was only a neat hobby.

Follow your natural talents. A mathematician will likely never make a happy writer. A talented writer will rarely like dealing with numbers. Some people are good in situations where public contact is demanded while others work best alone. Teaming works for some, and for others it’s a huge anchor weight on creativity and leadership. Be honest enough with yourself to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and work toward your strengths. Square pegs are never happy squeezed into round holes.

Appreciate what you do. I had an acquaintance who recently took on a part-time job at Chuck E. Cheese’s to make a little extra money to pay off medical bills. She intimated to me that she was embarrassed because she felt many people she knew looked down on her for working in such a “low end position”. When I asked her if she liked the job and if she felt she was doing a good job, she enthusiastically replied “Yes! I love working with the kids and seeing their faces when the birthday cake comes out!”

“Well then, there’s nothing to be ashamed of! You are doing something you enjoy, something at which you obviously have a talent, and something that brings joy to others. It’s a great job!” I replied.

If you can form your career to fit your wants, needs, and desires in regard to fulfillment, financial requirement, and lifestyle, you will never work a day in your life. Life is too short to hate your job. Go out and find your true career love interest!

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 /


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