To read the blogosphere, it would seem everyone should quit their job immediately to pursue their passion, live simply, start their own businesses and work at home, imparting their wisdom to the working drones of the corporate world. Perhaps it is just where I hang out, but a good portion of the blogs I read all tell me until I work for myself, I can’t truly be happy. I am one of those “drones” and until recently, was buying into the whole concept that I couldn’t be happy until I quit working for corporate America. Life, however, is never quite that simple.
Last Sunday, a reader story posted on Get Rich Slowly caught my eye. The writer who calls him/herself Knot Theory, wrote about having their job of passion: teaching high school. Unfortunately, bureaucracy got the best of things and the author decided to quit and go back to school, rather than let the job eat them up. After working at a big box retail, eating ramen and peanut butter, the author completed a masters degree in accounting. Not having the same passion for accounting as teaching, Knot Theory now diverts passion to other activities, not allowing career to overshadow everything else.
Good advice. I enjoy being a manager. Helping people reach their peak performance is my passion. That is pretty hard to be done from home in a company of one. I need to be in a team and unless I had my own midsize company, I wouldn’t have enough employees to exercise on that skill. So, I work for someone else. That doesn’t necessarily make me better or worse than those to do work for themselves. It’s just different and different can be just as good. Someday I may have my own company or I may spend the rest of my career in a large organization as I am now. It doesn’t really matter.
What does matter? I think it is important to use and develop the skills we have. There are many ways to advance our skills without employing them to provide our daily bread. In fact, I think if we only use our skills in our career, we have missed the point and may not ever find happiness. There are so many ways we can employ skills. I attended the caucuses last week. While I didn’t volunteer or run for any office, there are needs in the precinct where I can develop my skills. My neighbor, who is already overloaded with work, found herself elected to be the precinct secretary. She is going to need some help. Local churches always need talent and time to bless the lives of others. Hobbies are natural sources of passionate expression and let’s not forget the world’s most important job of all: parenting.
While this doesn’t mean I will not continue pursuing activities that at some point may turn a profit, it has allowed me mental separation between happiness and self-employment. I can enjoy life and still work for someone else. While others feel the drive to be their own boss, it is okay for me to enjoy the rough and tumble conflict that comes with a corporate job. Both the entrepreneur and the corporate drone have their place and even need each other for survival. We are more than our careers. Now get out and find the passion. Just don’t limit the search to the job.