Careers – and passions – are dangerous

“If you work diligently eight hours per day, you might get yourself promoted and become a manager, to work twelve hours per day.” (Robert Frost, quoted in “The Four Hour Work Week”)

This post is inspired by the idea of looking for the perfect career, and also by most everything that Ash writes at the blog.

I’m gonna start off by saying that we – by “we” defining young people, like you and me, roaming around the Internet, sucking up information with every pore in order to ace that interview, get that job, and be successful – so, we are in peril of losing ourselves at the stake of corporate life.

You see, the problem here is that career-go-getters usually go through the following process:

1. Define skills.
2. Define purpose.
3. Define what you like and what would make you look forward to a day  of work.
4. Define company/companies/NGO’s/environment where you would be able to do that.
5. Pick jobs and start applying.
6. Sell points no.1 and no.2 to the conspicuous eyeing recruiter.
7. Bask in the happiness of the shiny new job.
8. … Years/months/days go by, and you start fresh from point 1.

Why do we artificially attach meaning to an already existing job?
Isn’t the over-repetitive advice we see around “do what you love”?

What do you do? I’m a Successful Career Person.

If your passion and your career intersect, or even coincide, that’s dangerous.
What do you do, if your job is something you really, really like?
(I’m talking corporate environment or self-employed professionals, so if you’re helping children somewhere in Africa, please don’t feel included. As a matter of fact…how did you even get Internet there??)

You overwork yourself. You’re over dedicated. You think only about your job.
As much as I admire people who quit  their jobs to pursue their passions, I have a question for them:

How much time do you spend away from work, daily?

You see, the downside with being passionate about your work is to become overcommitted. And then everything else fades away.

When asked the ubiquituous question “So what do you do?”, answer “I am.” The moment when you stop needing to attach something after the “am”, is when you’re free. That’s when the meaning’s not outside anymore, but inside.

(thank you coach Mihai for this eye-opener, months ago. You see, sometimes the internalizing process takes a bit of time.)

What happened to Life?

Who I am is the result of my choices, my experience, my life lessons. Not what I do for a living.
Yes, that takes up most of the day. But what makes me happy is being able to contain it in my life, not let it dominate.

Careful in being defined by your passion – it sucks up everything else.

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1 Comment
  • Gabi
    April 28, 2010

    This is a very interesting perspective. I’ll take it with me and let it settle for a while… For the moment, I surely don’t answer “I am.”

    .-= Gabi´s last blog =-.

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