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Doing A Job You Love (Article/Feedback) (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
An article I wrote on my site


Last month I quit my corporate job. I only started a year ago, fresh out of university. I remember when I received the job offer, I was ecstatic. Eleven months in and I was counting down the days of my notice period as if a young child waiting for Christmas.

This article tells you how to pick a job. It’s partly a response to Business Weeks Special on where to launch your career. The entire report should be binned. The way most people pick jobs really needs to change.

Do you love it?

That is the first question you should ask about your job. Not how much you get paid, not what the hours are, but do you love it. Most people want to do great work. They want to feel like they have created some value.

People who love what they do produce great work. Those who do not, go through life being "ok". But who would want to go through life merely being "ok". Your job has to pass the litmus test. On Sunday night when you know you have work the next day, how do you feel? If it’s a moment filled with dread and angst, you failed the test. You do not love what you do.
Most of the graduates I met at my former company and other companies did not love what they did. They "survived” and were doing "ok", how could they expect anymore. After all, "it’s a job". Some people did love the job but they were in the depressing minority.

For those who think it is enough to "like" a job let me tell you that it's not. You probably spend over half your working week in the office and will continue to do so for 44 years. I will write that again in case you did not read it properly. For 44 years. Now tell me again it is enough to merely like your job.

You should only work to live, to learn or for love. No other reason is sufficient.

I don’t love it, but at least I am learning!

In the first few months of a new job you will probably learn a fair amount. I learnt some excel wizardry and some "soft" skills. Then I stopped learning. I just applied everything I had learnt before to different situations again and again.

This is not an isolated personal experience. It is quite consistent especially across consulting, banking and accounting. There is a myth that a corporate job teaches you things you cannot learn elsewhere. Companies work hard to push the "learning and development" you will receive once you join the firm. However, don't lie to yourself, you are not there to learn, you are there to work, even if it means repeating the same rote task.

That is not to say you don't learn anything, you do learn something’s it's just slower and inefficient. In between the countless emails and unnecessary meetings what will take an afternoon to learn at home, could take weeks in your corporate job. That’s no exaggeration. Do not be foolish in thinking you are learning just by being there.

Many graduates take the corporate route because they think they will learn things they cannot learn elsewhere. This is a myth. Most of what you want to learn and need to learn can be better done in your own time. Think about it.

I don’t love it, not sure I am learning, but I am secure!

I could trot out some statistics about how everyone thought they were secure in 1929, the early 1970's, the late 1980's and even in the late 1990's. They were not. Economic forces swiftly removed that security blanket. Add this to the shaky state of the world economy at present, I doubt anyone could say they were entirely secure. Not even a solid performance at work means you will be there next month. Big business is invariably a numbers game. Yours could be up.

Leaving the statistics aside do you really want to do something you don’t love? In a job you don’t learn, for up to 44 years. That’s a recipe for boredom.

Boredom is the enemy of anyone who gives a damn.

As Eric Raymond says in the Hacker Attitude "boredom and drudgery are evil". They are evil because they stop you from solving "new problems". The theme for me and others was similar. We had stopped learning and were solving the same puzzle from yesterday.

Find something you love
The key is realise you can love your work and to find something you love. As Paul Graham the well-known hacker and essayist wrote;

"If you know you can love work, you're in the home stretch, and if you know what work you love, you're practically there."

So go find something you love.