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Career Satisfaction

August 8, 2010
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Jessica Stillman on Entry-Level Rebel at BNet wrote this brief but poignant article I really like: Top Myths About Passion and Career Busted. Here’s my favorite part:
Myth 2: ‘Following your passion’ is doing work that has meaning instead of being a mindless worker ant. Reality: All work has meaning – even the boring stuff. Stop approaching passion as if it were something that you can “find,” like the perfect lifestyle accessory, or something you “do,” like saving the world. Start thinking of passion as a way of being a quality you can and must cultivate. When it comes to our work, we choose to be passionate. Or not. We choose to be actively engaged. Or not. We choose to be conscientious. Or not. We choose to treat customers and colleagues with courtesy and consideration. Or not. We choose to give more than is expected. Or not. We choose to see ourselves as part of the big picture. Or not.
I wish I could print it out and hand it to everyone who thinks only if they didn’t have to work for a living they could be doing their passion. Or all the young kids striving for that perfect career that articulates their passion, afraid to get a degree, or take a job, in anything less. I’ve always been of the opinion that we as humans, especially in a middle class “knowledge economy”, can be happy doing a lot of things. Yes there are a lot of “boring” office jobs out there, but very often you can find your own satisfaction in that job. And your job does not define you. It’s never going to be perfect. If it’s too draining, and you no longer derive passion from it, but don’t have the means to quit your job and walk across the US for a year then go ahead and seek that passion after work. Put your time and your energy towards the things that make you happy, whether that is your family, your friends, your car project, your cats, your painting, your reality tv watching, whatever. I don’t mean to suggest we should all be hedonists, just that we’re all in control (somewhat) over our own lives. We have the ability to change how we react to things and change our expectations. Maybe our expectations for our careers are just too high these days.
 
I look to Dr. McCoy for my inspiration. He never even bothered to fully understand the details of the Vulcan anatomy, wasn’t afraid to tell people, and had no qualms about drinking Saurian brandy on the slow days. Maybe we could all learn how to relax a little and learn what’s really important to us. I’m not, however, condoning drinking on the job. I swear. Even if it is really good Saurian brandy.
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