At the age of 15, I had the opportunity to get my first (legal) summer job at a local shop and restaurant as a quad bike driver. I’m eternally thankful for the opportunity, as it laid the foundation for my future work endeavors, and was a challenging but positive environment for the young lad I was. I worked there every summer until the age of 18.
Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work in different jobs in different countries. I’m lucky - not particularly special - to have gotten those opportunities, as I never went and hunted for those jobs. They were jobs that came to me for being lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. I always did my best and received good feedback from (mostly) amazing bosses. Most people, however, have to get out there and find jobs.
Because I was so (undeservingly) blessed when it came to jobs, I was always the annoying person in my circles, who'd proclaim that there are always opportunities out there, there are tons of jobs waiting for you - you just have to step out and find them!
And… yes, I still think that way. But after experiencing it for myself for the first time, I understood that it’s hard work finding those opportunities.
So, for the first time in my life, I was in a place where I knew my job contract would end in a couple of months and I knew I needed to take some fresh steps employment-wise. I decided to allocate a specific, consistent time for job-hunting within my week schedule. What I did before applying for a single job turned out to be the best thing I could’ve done in that situation. I sat down, gathered some work-related resources, quieted down and contemplated. What would be the wisest thing I could do?
I thought about the most important thing there is when it comes to work. Passion is an obvious one, and we often hear the question "what are you passionate about?” being thrown around. It’s a great question, but I’ve personally heard it so many times that it’s become obsolete. I needed fresh insight. In her speech¹, Ashley Stahl blew my mind in the simplest way when she said that you should do something that you are, not just what you love.
It clicked right away… Of course! Passion is the fire that happens when you rub two sticks together. So what you should go by is not passion (a feeling), but rather who you are as a person. Find a job where you don’t have to become someone else every day in order to make it work. When you can be yourself and utilize your own personality as a tool to get your work done, you’ve found yourself a good thing. Changing yourself to something who you’re not is exhausting and inefficient. Naturally, when something you do is aligned with who you are, there’s a lot more enjoyment, a lot more passion, and a lot more power in your life.
What are your interests? What do you do with delight even without being paid? Which quirk about your own personality brings you joy? For example, some people love being organized. Others love serving people. Some enjoy building things.
Working a job that you actually love is a relatively fresh idea. Work is almost never free of challenges, but it doesn’t have to suck. Doing something that you are, doesn’t come easy. You need stops, steps and brainwork.
So, who are you?
1. Stahl, Ashley. “Three Questions to unlock your authentic career.” Speech, TEDxBerkeley, California, Berkeley.