“By the time they reach an age to think about what they’d like to do, most kids have been thoroughly misled about the idea of loving one’s work. School has trained them to regard work as an unpleasant duty. Having a job is said to be even more onerous than schoolwork. And yet all the adults claim to like what they do. You can’t blame kids for thinking ‘I am not like these people; I am not suited to this world.’”
This wonderful post by Paul Graham takes a very insightful look into why we pursue certain careers and why we avoid others. Loving what you do is not something that many people have the luxury of saying, or doing. I’ve always believed that a true test of career love is if you’d do it for free. Graham says,
“To be happy I think you have to be doing something you not only enjoy, but admire. You have to be able to say, at the end, wow, that’s pretty cool.”
Graham goes on to say that many people tend to select professions not based on what they love deep down inside, but based on a direction in which their parents steer them, or worse yet, based on the prestige of a particular career. He says,
“Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.”
Loving what you do comes from keep yourself disciplined. Do well at whatever it is that you’re doing, even if you’re not ‘in love’ with it yet. Always be a producer, and understand that knowing what you like to work on doesn’t always mean that you’ll get to work on it. Know proper timing for working on pet projects and working on things that are required. You’ll respect yourself, and your peers will respect you. The love will come eventually.
Graham described two routes that will lead to loving what you do:
- The organic route, which is essentially gaining experience and gradually increasing the amount of time you spend in your job on the elements you enjoy vs. those things you don’t, and
- The two-job route, which is working a ‘day job’ to pay the bills and pursuing your love in your spare time.
He says more people tend to work the organic route, because the two-job route requires a deliberate choice. However, my personal feeling is that with the state of the job market today, we will see an uptick in the number of people working a job that simply pays the bills in the daylight hours while pursuing a hobby, or another degree, in the evenings or in their spare time, with the ultimate goal of doing something they love.
A tip to college students: you don’t need to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life! From Graham:
“A friend of mine who is a quite successful doctor complains constantly about her job. When people applying to medical school ask her for advice, she wants to shake them and yell ‘Don’t do it!’ (But she never does.) How did she get into this fix? In high school she already wanted to be a doctor. And she is so ambitious and determined that she overcame every obstacle along the way—including, unfortunately, not liking it. Now she has a life chosen for her by a high-school kid.”
Want to love what you do? Explore many options before making a definite decision. Don’t lock yourself into one niche before you’ve tested out a couple of others. In my own experience, I discovered within the last three months of college that I HATED what I had been pursuing. Thankfully I was able to find a career path shortly after graduating that I’ve fallen in love with.
Finally, don’t let money be the center of your decision-making. Taking care of your financial needs should certainly be a deciding factor for sure, but would you sell your soul for a price tag? “Much as everyone thinks they want financial security, the happiest people are not those who have it, but those who like what they do. So a plan that promises freedom at the expense of knowing what to do with it may not be as good as it seems.” My advice – work hard at what you love to make yourself worthy of a higher salary. Pay your dues. You’ll appreciate what you earn more when you’ve had to work hard for it.
The takeaway here is this: take some time to figure out what you love. Don’t rush it! Sometimes it may show up nice and subtle, but it might just smack you in the face too. Be open to whatever it is – the old saying goes, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Be sure to read Paul Graham’s complete article, “How To Do What You Love”.
This will be a very brief Cool Tool Alert, but a really awesome one. We’re all interested in finding better ways to pare down all the information we receive on a daily basis, and TweetChat allows you to stay focused on one hashtag at a time. In their own words:
“TweetChat helps put your blinders on to the Twitter-sphere while you monitor and chat about one topic.”
There are several super cool things about TweetChat:
- You can only focus on one hashtag at a time. So for anyone who is a notorious multi-tasker like me, this really helps you to stay focused on one thing.
- Auto-refresh. Twitter Search lets you track hashtags too, but you have to keep clicking refresh to keep up with new messages. TweetChat automatically refreshes for you, plus you can adjust the frequency of refreshing – from 5 seconds all the way up to 1 minute.
- You can feature or block certain users who are using your hashtag. So, if you want to highlight either a topic moderator or someone who is offering particularly helpful advice you can do so. As well, if someone is abusing the hashtag, you can block them from showing up on your room feed.
- When you tweet a message while monitoring a room, it automatically adds your hashtag at the end of your message. So no need to try to remember which one you’re monitoring. Plus, it also gives you the number of characters you have left after accounting for the hashtag. For example – I will be using the hashtag “#VegasRG” for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas in June for the Fordyce Forum, so I can monitor that hashtag, as seen here (notice the 131 in the upper right-hand corner):
By the way, TweetChat looks great on mobile devices as well.
What makes this better than, say, TweetDeck? Well, the refresh rate is much faster, plus you won’t be distracted by the chirping noise and all the other columns you may have already set up. I still use TweetDeck for daily monitoring, but TweetChat has proven to be a great resource for focused following.
I highly recommend using it for following weekly online discussions such as #journchat and #blogchat as well as for following a networking event or a conference, such as #w2e or #CincySMB. I personally will be using TweetChat to tweet from and monitor #VegasRG during my presentation at the Fordyce Forum coming up in June.
Filed under: Tweetups
The next date we’ll be co-working is Wednesday, May 13th. Check out the Jelly Cincinnati Wiki page – we’ll post updates there as well as having event registration available through Eventbrite.
Join other Cincinnati area telecommuters for a day of working in a collaborative environment. We’ll meet at Crossroads Community Church – the church graciously offers free wifi and coffee during the week for the local community. The idea here is to have folks who work in many different job functions working together in an open environment. The expectation is that creative juices will flow and new friendships will be forged. Hope to see you there!
When: Wednesday, May 13th
Where: Crossroads Community Church
3500 Madison Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45209