When I started thinking about a good topic for my first official blog post on this newly-designed website, I started to ruminate on some of the things that make me genuinely happy in my professional life. And #1 on my list is the diverse work I get to do and the wonderful and creative people I get to partner with daily – remarkable humans who inspire me and help me grow. As I continued to think, I realized something amazing: I absolutely, non-sarcastically and un-ironically love my work.
The idea of loving the work I have chosen to do seems pretty logical to me, and I would suspect, at least in theory, it is probably logical to most. I am part of a generation who was taught that we can be whoever we want to be (though I do debate the hard-and-fast truth of that concept regularly, as we still have to play by the rules of our own unique skills and talents). And I was raised by creative and intelligent parents who believed in this “be what you love” notion, plus the notion that every human being deserves to have a job that fulfills them and is a natural outgrowth of their deepest passions.
But guess what I have shockingly discovered? Living to love your work has been deemed impractical and impossible by an alarmingly large number of people. I think I first consciously admitted this unfortunate truth to myself when I was recently browsing through all the existentially-angsty work complaints on Facebook, and I actually started to feel enraged. Why does everyone hate their jobs?
I have written several personal, more private pieces exploring our culture’s masochistic tendencies when it comes to “the daily grind” in the past, but I have never noticed quite how all-pervasive they are, nor have I compared them to the way I approach my own creative journey. It is our way to complain about how much we hate our jobs, to anyone who will listen … and now, the “anyone who will listen” group has been greatly expanded thanks to all our wonderful technology … the same wonderful technology that has allowed me to work with a singer/songwriter/actress in L.A., a guitarist in London and a saxophonist in Hong Kong … the same technology that, daily, delivers me exciting new music and my favorite sports bloopers and unlikely animal friends videos … the same technology that helps me create everything I do.
Still, I wonder why people stay in jobs that become a source of daily pain and frustration. And furthermore, why do they believe that the time spent not at work is the only time they can really be themselves and find peace and contentment?
I often hear people that hate their work say to those that don’t, “You’re so lucky you get to do work you love.” And many of these people then secretly (or not so secretly) express resentment every time the job lovers share their excitement about a new project or accomplishment. I have proudly felt the continued wonderful, natural blending of my personal and professional life as I’ve steadily built (and sometimes, admittedly “struggled to build”) my own business over the past decade. And while I do feel fortunate, I definitely do not see finding myself doing work I love as having anything to do with “luck.” Doing what you love is not an anomaly. I think it has to do with perseverance and believing in a truth that we forget when we get mired in our own situations: We have choices.
Sometimes we don’t like our choices, both personal and professional. I’ve certainly been in plenty of situations where every choice in front of me was terrible. But there were still options. Sometimes we just don’t feel like learning a new way, or we don’t believe in our own strength to jump on the path that might seem to be impossible at the moment, but has life-changing payoffs.
At some point, we became afraid of risk, and some of us started to think it was the norm to be miserable, hate our lives … and tell everyone on the planet about it, spreading a cloud of all-permeating toxicity everywhere we go. You’d think in a world that continues to open up so widely for all of us (and often shows us examples of people who have become huge successes thanks to taking risks), we’d have more hope, joy … and less fear.
Like everyone else on earth, I am sometimes confronted by frustrating, ridiculous and grating people and professional or personal roadblocks. And I know sometimes you have to bide your time at a job that is less ideal while you work towards dreamier circumstances (because I have done it … and I will likely share more about that process in the future). But when did some of us become endlessly-complaining victims of our own circumstances?
I made the difficult choice to do what I love and choose a creative and creating life. And it has not been without back-breaking challenge and some significant personal carnage. But I know I will ultimately settle for nothing less than what gets me excited every day and keeps my imagination connected to the vibrant and challenging world.
Here’s some very unsolicited advice that I consistently follow: Stop entertaining the humorless and victimized complaints from people who will not change their circumstances. And if you are unhappy, do something about it. If you’re in a job you hate, spend some time figuring out what really fuels you … then go towards that light with all your energy.
And ask yourself a big question: What’s your reason for being here?
I often get the privilege of helping others figure out the answer to this question, and that process is definitely at the top of the list of 999,999 (and counting) things I love about my own “daily grind.”
Love your work.
And stay tuned, because I definitely intend to share a lot more things I love with you through this blog!