Saturday, February 2, 2013

Do what YOU enjoy!

I listened to an audio book a while back by Peter Buffett, son of the great financial mind, Warren Buffett.  The book is entitled, "Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment."  I recommend listening, it's quite good. 

But there was a particular part that I wrote down, it spoke so loudly to me.  I'll quote it here.

"Some people believe that having a good work ethic equates with a willingness to slave away for 60 or 80 hours a week at a job for which one has no passion or even actively hates.  This idea here is that the sheer effort, self-denial, and time loged on the clock are somehow intrinsically virtuous.  But excuse me, that's not virtue, it's masichism.  In some cases it's also, paradoxically, a sign of laziness and a lack of imagination.  If you're such a hard worker, why not use some of that effort and some of those hours to find something you actually like?" 

I kept rewinding that section of the audiobook, multiple times, in order to write down exactly what Peter Buffett said.  I couldn't agree more, and hadn't heard anyone else say that before. 

I'm sure we all know people who are the type of person Peter describes.  Who work long, hard hours at their job, most likely disliking it the entire time.  They come home, complain about their job, but yet do nothing to make a change.  Maybe that's you.  That could be you right now, but it doesn't have to be you forever. 

I was told once by my dad, "You don't have to like your job, you just have to do it."  Even at the second he uttered those words, everything inside me was screaming in disagreement.  I was in my early twenties then, having just graduated college.  I was working as a teacher, the field I thought I wanted to be in, only to find out I didn't actually like it.  That's when he said that to me.  Now, in my dad's defense, I will say that he's not the type of person Peter was talking about.  He does work hard, but I know he genuinely likes what he does.  He also works in education, first as a teacher, then he became a principal.  Sure, I've heard him complain at times, but I've also always known that bottom line, he likes what he does.  Most of the time anyway. 

But there are many people who feel the same way.  "You don't have to like your job, you just have to do it."  Sometimes that may be the case, if you need the income to pay bills, have little or nothing in savings to fall back on, etc.  But I think the key is in your mind.  The key is not giving up and simply accepting that as your "lot in life" that you're powerless to change.  As Peter described it, that's lazy and unimaginative. 

What do YOU want to do?  I know I've written about this before, but it's a topic that's so near and dear to my heart because it's how I've lived my life.  I'm not sure where I got the belief from.  I like to think it's from tapping into my spirit and listening to it, rather than the rest of the world. 

I've been working at a florist for the past three and a half weeks now.  I love it!  Will I always love it?  I don't know.  If history tells me anything, I'd say probably not.  I'll probably get tired of it, outgrow it, and need to move on at some point.  But for now, I love it.  I look forward to going to work whenever I'm scheduled.  Yesterday I learned how to put together planter arrangements.  Up until then I'd only taken orders and helped customers.  I liked helping customers and taking orders, so when my boss told me I'd be learning to make planters, inside I was bummed.  I'm not a natural gardener.  I don't like planting things.  I don't like working in the dirt.  But somehow, for some reason, I liked putting together the planters!  It was creative.  I got to choose which plants to put in, and arrange them how I thought looked best.  That was the fun part.  I did it for about four hours yesterday, for my entire shift.  And the time flew! 

What you enjoy will likely change over time.  That's ok.  Sometimes I envy people who find something they're so passionate about and devote their life to it.  They work in one field their entire working lives, advancing along.  It's who they are.  Part of their identity.  I've never had that.  I thought my identity was "teacher."  Then I thought "ASL interpreter."  Then I thought "writer."  Why have I been trying to hard to pinpoint a single identity for myself?  I think I've finally come to terms with the fact that I thrive on change.  I like learning new things.  Working in different fields. 

What about you?  Are you working in a job or in a field you're still passionate about, no matter how long you've been working there?  If not, is there a change you can make?  Perhaps shift your responsibilities in your current job?  Or jump to another area within your company?  Or maybe you're just itching to make a giant shift?  I say go for it!  Life is short.  I don't regret a single job I've had, no matter how short-lived and unpleasant at the time.  I'm glad I gave it a shot.  Even if you're not financially in a place to up and quit your current line of work, I encourage you to take little baby steps towards the change you desire.  Cut back on expenses in order to put more money into savings, giving you a cushion.  Look for other jobs.  And apply to ones you're interested in.  You never know - you just might land an amazing job! 

I'd also like to encourage you not to worry about the status of the job.  In conversations I had with my boyfriend (ex?), I'd encourage him to leave the job he's hated since the second week he's worked there (he's been there about 10 years now!).  His argument was he didn't want to go down in pay, to whatever job he'd switch to.  This drove me crazy.  He considered it a step backwards, when in fact it's a step UP!  A step in the right direction.  It's not like he (or you) have to work a lesser paying job forever.  Unless you really love it, then make it work!  It's about finding something that you can feel good about doing, and leaving behind something that drains you and makes you unhappy.

I've worked many low-paying jobs.  I'm making less than half what I made as an ASL interpreter, working at the florist right now.  But I'm happier!  And to me, that counts for so much more.  You can always cut down on expenses (what I've done), pick up other odd jobs (I've also done this) in order to make it work.  "Where there's a will, there's a way."  Old saying, but 100% true. 

So today, as I prepare to go to a job I never thought I'd do or like (but I do!), I'd like to encourage you to give it a shot.  "It" is whatever "it" is to you.  A different, perhaps totally random and unexpected job.  A new hobby.  A travel destination perhaps.  Anything.  Try it.  You won't know if you like something until you actually do it.  And then, when it stops being enjoyable and something else is calling out to you, give yourself permission to try that too!  No one said we have to pick one thing and stick with it forever.  Life is not a prison sentence! 

We're free! 
Free to choose what we want, do what we want, live how we want! 
Enjoy that freedom!

Quotes of the Day:

"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."  (Walt Disney)
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new."  (Albert Einstein)

"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."  (C.S. Lewis)

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