The worst career/life advice I ever received and that is still given to young people is “Choose a job you love, follow your passions and dreams!”. While this is certainly a novel idea, and not without it’s merits, I think it’s absolutely counter productive. First of all if your an 18 year old kid right out of high school, let me tell you, unless you got life figured out (which I would say would be 1 percent of the population) you haven’t even gotten a clue about what type of job you’ll love. At that age you may “think” you know what you love, but most of the time that changes as you grow and experience new things.
Simply stated – people change, their points of view change, and they grow to love new things. Work is like any other relationship in your life. You have to work hard to have a healthy one, sometimes you get lucky and you land a job that you immediately love. In fact it’s very easy to say “find a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” when in fact you love what you do.
I recently read an old article in Forbes titled “Do What You Love? Or, Love What You Do?” and the authors found that one could find meaning and success in their current job, even though they still didn’t love their work.
Strangely enough, the authors found through a global research study found that 88% of projects that earned awards began with the question “What difference could I make that other people would love”. I find it very interesting that this same sort of principle is in the Bible. In fact the principle aligns with the second great commandment according to Jesus – “Love your neighbor as yourself”. The Bible has many examples of serving others, but this one spoke to me the most in relation to this topic –
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. – Galatians 5:13-14 ESV
I found the best advice from this article, when you aren’t loving the work you do, is to”Go and see your work being received. See how it impacts someone else, another coworker, a customer, another team, or whoever benefits from your work.” It’s not about loving what you do, but what you are doing for someone else that will give you the most joy and satisfaction out of a stagnant job. Caveat here – if you are in an absolutely toxic work environment – it may be time to start looking for another job. I may create another blog post about that in the future.
Anyways it’s all about a change in perspective. Serve others and bring them joy and as a by product you, yourself will experience joy from your work. And remember…
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24