In today’s job market having a passion for what you do is no longer a luxury (Part 1 of 2)
We are all familiar with the old adage “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Coined by Harvey MacKay whose books include the bestseller Swim With the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive), advice such as this was laudable but to many people impractical. After all, being responsible and earning a living has very little to do with a favorite hobby or pastime . . . doesn’t it?
I recently thought of these words in the context of a Harvard Business Review article which attempted to answer one reader’s question “If you’re really passionate about what you do, but it’s not going to make you a lot of money, should you still do it?”
So what would your response be?
In my upcoming book Bulletproof Your Career I wrote about famed music producer David Foster‘s definition of success.
When asked about his accomplishments Foster, who besides discovering singers such as Michael Bublé and producing major stars such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Céline Dion, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, had this to say; “whenever I embarked on a project in which I was focused on making money I inevitably failed.” The key he would add, is to pursue your passion and do those things that are not based on getting rich but, serving both your craft as well as others.
Within this one simple statement the lights went off in a series of blazing revelations.
The problem today is that if you ask most people about their present job, and whether or not they are passionate about what they do as opposed to merely earning a living, the vast majority fall into the latter category.
What is even more surprising is the fact that most of these individuals wear such a sacrifice as a badge of honor in that they somehow equate workplace ambivalence with being a responsible adult. Nothing could of course be further from the truth . . . especially in today’s rapidly changing global marketplace.
The fact is that unlike the recent past where a cradle to grave employment mentality seemed to be the order of the day, in the present we are now called upon to be entrepreneurial in our thinking. In other words and according to LinkedIn co-founder and chairman Reid Hoffman whose new book “The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career’ we have to start managing our careers as if it “were a start-up business: a living, breathing, growing start-up of you.”
As it relates to our personal passions and the job we do day-in and day-out, the two are no longer mutually exclusive. Or to put it another way, just showing up and doing a good job will no longer carry the day. You had better bring something to table more than perfect attendance.
The question this raises is how do you, after so many years, switch gears and find your passion in what one senior executive referred to as being a transactional workplace?
In part 2 of this series, I will help you to find the passion within your current position – “a grow where you are planted” perspective or, enable you to identify where your enthusiasm and energies are best utilized to the benefit of both yourself and an employer.
The one final thought with which I will leave you today is this . . . there is no such thing as job security. Once you realize and accept this, you will be able to truly pursue the career about which you are most passionate.