I had a recruiter from a hiring agency call me today and ask if I might be interested in a job they were filling for another company. When he introduced himself and asked if I might be open to something else, my response was “Probably not, but I’ll listen to what you have to say.” I always listen to such calls whether I am in search of another job or not, just because I’m curious. He went on to tell me about the position and, as I suspected, I had no interest in making such a move, so I cut the conversation short and wished him well in his search.
It felt good that my first thought upon being approached for another job was “No, I love what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, and with whom I get to do it.” Not everyone is that fortunate. I am, indeed, blessed. Would I consider a different role for my current employer, or moving up the food chain a little? Perhaps, but I’d have to be convinced of the personal fulfillment potential of the new role and of the likelihood that I would contribute more to the long-term benefit of the company than I am in my current role (and that isn’t likely).
Many people have to make tough choices, working at jobs that are less than fulfilling – positions that pay the bills but don’t quite live up to everything they might have dreamed about. If people want to eat and have the basic necessities of life, then it can require swallowing a little pride, making sacrifices, and putting dreams on hold (perhaps forever) while real-life personal and family needs are met. Those who have suffered a period of unemployment may well find themselves taking whatever job they can get out of necessity. Younger workers may have to spend years paying their dues and working their way into more appealing positions over time. I have the utmost respect for anyone who works faithfully at any job giving it their best, whether or not it is their dream job.
As an optimist, though, I’m always hopeful for myself and others that positive change can happen. For the worker who is feeling stuck in a dead-end role with little hope of advancing or moving on to something better, I always like to see efforts at continuing education and baby steps in directions that keep those hopes for something better alive. To the extent that personal and family responsibilities allow, I am inspired by those who take great leaps of faith, risking much in an effort to gain much. There is something deeply human and captivating about a can-do spirit and drive to succeed. Such people remind me of a stone I have on a shelf in my man cave that says “Leap and the net will appear.” It is difficult to balance the faith and personal responsibility involved with such leaps, but they can be invigorating launchpads to new beginnings.
You don’t have to search long to find studies that speak to the importance of people being passionate about what they do if they are to remain happy, contented, and highly engaged in their work. An easy test of passion for me is to answer the question, “Is this something I would enjoy doing for a while in the evening at home after a long day of work?” Currently for me, the answer is, yes, I’d be glad to continue for a few hours several evenings a week if needed. In fact, I do that very thing because I love what I do. I’m passionate about it. I want to accomplish much. I want to do my best. So why wouldn’t I drift toward doing more than what a mere 40-hour work week calls for (not that I’m too familiar with 40-hour weeks since mine are more like 50+ most weeks).
Are you doing what you love every day? If so, congratulations! Be thankful for your situation. If not, why aren’t you? I understand that circumstances and opportunities may have played a part in you putting your dreams on hold, but I encourage you not to forget them. They may need to be revamped from time to time, but they should not be forgotten. Perhaps through doing something every day or every week toward your dream, you will find yourself a year from now far closer than you are today.
Work hard. Be responsible. Educate yourself. Take chances. Keep the dream alive, and work diligently to see it come to pass if you really want to do what you love to do.