I love what I do for a living. I guess I’m one of the fortunate ones. I’ve always worked in the marketing communications industry and, after more than thirty years, it still gives me great joy. Sure, I’ve had jobs I disliked. Who hasn’t? But when I look back at my career, I can’t complain. Since I was a sixteen-year old window decorator and gopher at my hometown Montgomery Ward store, I’ve been hooked.
Many, unfortunately, haven’t found that career or job that makes them happy. Like a sympathetic parent, my heart breaks for them. Why do they struggle? What can I do to help? Here are just a few observations:
Do what you love
Some people are just in the wrong career. Maybe because of poor parental guidance (pressure) or simply out of a necessity to pay the bills, they headed down the wrong path and were unable or unwilling to start over. We all know that the longer you stay in the wrong career, the more difficult it is to change direction.
Let’s try an exercise. In a quiet place where you can be alone for a while, close your eyes and visualize yourself working in your dream job. Maybe it’s what you had planned before taking that fateful first job. Maybe it’s what you dreamed about while in high school or college. What are you doing? Where do you live?
Now, ask yourself this question. What would prevent you from starting over? Do you lack of experience in your dream industry? Do you lack the required education? Do you have other commitments that keep you from making a change? If you were to restart, what would be the logical first step? Would you go back to school or just take a few refresher classes? Maybe you would need to initiate a new networking plan. What changes would your spouse or family need to make so that you could shift gears? How much struggle are you willing to endure?
Work with passion
Even though I’ve changed jobs a few times, I’ve always worked in the industry I love, marketing communications. If you’re not in your preferred profession, odds are you’ll struggle to perform with the passion and excitement required to experience true love for your job. In the wrong profession, you’ll be easy to spot. You’ll be the person who is unhappy, late for work, takes long lunches, and then disappears mid afternoon. You’ll also agonize over evening meetings or, heaven forbid, business travel.
Conversely, when you work in a career you love, you’ll find that you just can’t get enough. You’ll chomp at the bit to get to work and you’ll love being there. Your excitement will be infectious. Others will love being around you and you’ll be a positive influence on the entire team. When the day ends, you’ll be exhausted, yet thrilled about what you’ve accomplished.
For me, and others on the Brand Acceleration team, each day flies by and ends with the exhilaration of having accomplished great things for our clients and coworkers. “Wow, what an amazing day!”
Always be learning and growing
The world is changing at break-neck speed. It can be tough to keep up. But if you stop trying to grow and expand your knowledge and value, you’re toast. The world will pass you by, leaving you in the dust. If you’re really committed to being the best in your business, you need to promise yourself that you will never stop improving.
In my industry, we not only have to keep up, we have to lead. There are always new tools communications coming our way. With each new project, whether a web site, brochure, e-marketing campaign, or something else, we explore how we can step it up a few notches and get better, adding value and generating results for our clients. That passion for improvement excites us, making our work something that we love to do each and every day. After so many years in the business, I’m very excited by our ability to grow, learn, and lead the way. We don’t want to be just good at what we do; we want to be the best.
What excites you?
What do you love to do? Do you love helping others, designing beautiful spaces, growing economies, painting, teaching, playing golf, making money? Where is your heart? Are you happier working alone or do you enjoy being part of a team?
Each of us needs to explore these questions, not in relation to our present career but as a way to discover what gives us great joy. Only by thoroughly exploring our passions can we start down a path toward self fulfillment. Life is far too short to settle for anything less.
I wish you all the best.