PDA

View Full Version : Think Tank: Ever felt like your job isn't what you were born to do? You're not alone



Gingersnap
02-28-2011, 12:46 PM
Think Tank: Ever felt like your job isn't what you were born to do? You're not alone

When we find ourselves in the midst of a career change or feel a dull sense that what we're doing now isn't what we should be doing forever, our friends and families along with every mentor, advisor, and consultant will smile knowingly, lean in tenderly, and pose this question: Tell me, what's your passion?

By Daniel H Pink 10:30PM GMT 26 Feb 2011
14 Comments

The idea is that if we simply acknowledge what fires our soul, if we just pull out our metaphysical arthroscope and examine our hearts, the path will reveal itself. So with a voice that quavers in expectation and an inflection that italicises the final word they ask us again, "What's your passion?"

Ladies and gentlemen, I detest that question.

When someone poses it to me, my innards tighten. My vocabulary becomes a palette of aahs and ums. My chest wells with the urge to flee. Oh my. The answer better be amazing not some fumbling, feeble reply. But I know the responses I've formed in my head aren't especially good. Worse, they're probably not even accurate. And I'm not alone.

So, as the economy comes back, and people begin pondering new opportunities, maybe we can take a break from this daunting and distracting question and ask a far more productive, one: what do you do?

I learned the wisdom of this alternative from Gretchen Rubin, who lives and works in New York City. After graduating from law school in the early 1990s, Rubin served as a law clerk for the US Supreme Court. This job is perhaps the sweetest plum in the American legal orchard. It practically guarantees a career of high-level positions in law firms and government.

But during her stint, Rubin's eyes wandered away from the law.

"When I had free time, I never wanted to talk about cases or read law journals, the way my fellow clerks did. Instead, I spent hours reading, taking notes and writing my observations about the worldly passions power, money, fame and sex," Rubin says. "Finally, I realised, 'Hey, I'm writing a book.' And it dawned on me that some people write books for a living. This project didn't have to be my hobby; it could be my job."

She wrote her first book Power Money Fame Sex: A User's Guide and soon she realised that she wasn't a lawyer. She was a writer. Now she has four books to her name, including her latest, The Happiness Project. Rubin might have felt an occasional bolt of passion while writing. But that didn't offer much guidance. Instead, she took a step back and watched what she did.

Emma Jones is the founder of Enterprise Nation, a London company that supports small businesses. She has discovered that people who notice what they do when nobody is watching them, or even paying them, often end up as entrepreneurs.

"I'm seeing quite an increase in the number of people turning a hobby into a business," she says. "You start innocently by making cakes or taking photos in your spare time. Friends and family admire the results and recommend you to others. Before you know it, you are your own boss and making a living from doing what you do."

This is how people find their way. Instead of endless self-examination and the search for some inscrutable holy emotional grail, they act.

Sometimes the answer that emerges from the action isn't fully formed, says Marci Alboher, author of One Person/Multiple Careers. "Often that thing 'on the side' becomes a slash that gets tacked on after an answer to the 'What do you do?' question. That's why we're seeing so many lawyer/chefs and dentist/massage therapists. And these slash careers are often pit stops on the way to full-blown career shifts."

Of course, passion isn't bad. But business can be a bit like love. When people first fall in love, they experience that woozy and besotted feeling that verges on obsessiveness. That's passion, and it's great. But as couples bond more enduringly, that fiery intensity can give way to a calmer warmth. That's true love and that's where the magic is.

More at the link.

Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/8349119/Think-Tank-Ever-felt-like-your-job-isnt-what-you-were-born-to-do-Youre-not-alone.html)

Wei Wu Wei
02-28-2011, 01:16 PM
Interesting article.

I agree with the bolded part but unless you already have necessary education and money finding a job you love isn't so easy. For a lot of people, people who don't start their careers in high-paying jobs or who leave college with mounds of debt, free time to develop your hobbies doesn't come often.

Again on the bolded part, I agree, as someone with a habit of endless self-examination, that usually those who sit and introspect long enough come to find that it is no way to start something. Often times (if not always) action requires a step into the unknown, carving your way as you discover it. Some people hope to search endlessly for something solid within them from which they can springboard into life but they don't realize that they are already in life, ready or not.

However, I don't think one should take from this that introspection is useless or counter-productive. While no amount of thought or self-examination can ever actually make something happen (because that requires Action), it can certainly open up the field of possibility,

Introspection opens up possibility, Action turns possibility into actuality.

You need both of them.

Gingersnap
02-28-2011, 02:45 PM
The take-away point of the article is that too many self-appointed career coaches (both professional and amatuer) over-emphasize the role of "passion" in the working world. It's perfectly possible to be successful and happy at some type of work while never experiencing any kind of orgasmic fulfillment.

Therefore, instead of attempting to define a level of passion that may not even exist in work (for you), it's more important to look at things you find absorbing or just interesting. Also, developing these kinds of interests into a job means being mature enough to be detached from what your friends consider real or appropriate work.

Starbuck
02-28-2011, 03:57 PM
One of the many benefits of having ADD (I am the poster child for ADD) is that you can always pursue what interests you because your interests keep changing.
And that's not a bad thing. It has allowed me to study (happily) a wide range of subjects and change my self-image several times. And it came out OK. I had great careers and took interesting jobs and went interesting places. I am retired now, and I am very, very thankful that I have had - and am having - an interesting and varied life.

The departure point came for me and my first wife when we had an argument and I said, "Dammit, you just want me to go to work for the gas company, and stay there till I retire!"
And she said, "What would be wrong with that?"

Nothing, I suppose.

But I couldn't do it.:confused:

Madisonian
02-28-2011, 04:56 PM
Again on the bolded part, I agree, as someone with a habit of endless self-examination, that usually those who sit and introspect long enough come to find that it is no way to start something.

I believe that is what most of us call masturbation, mental or otherwise.

Phillygirl
02-28-2011, 04:59 PM
The take-away point of the article is that too many self-appointed career coaches (both professional and amatuer) over-emphasize the role of "passion" in the working world. It's perfectly possible to be successful and happy at some type of work while never experiencing any kind of orgasmic fulfillment.

Therefore, instead of attempting to define a level of passion that may not even exist in work (for you), it's more important to look at things you find absorbing or just interesting. Also, developing these kinds of interests into a job means being mature enough to be detached from what your friends consider real or appropriate work.

As a colleague mentioned to me the other day...there is a reason that we call it "work".