When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a school teacher. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it had something to do with my perception that the job was easy (which was an incorrect perception), that it had predictable hours (do you remember thinking that your teacher worked from nine to three each day?), and the prospect of a few months off each summer.
I was not the only one with those misguided assumptions. Getting into teacher’s college in 1983 was harder than getting into medical school.
I didn’t become a teacher.
My next desire was to become a nurse. I wanted to help people. While I did graduate college with my RNA many years ago, I never practiced what I studied in college.
Instead, I became a receptionist for a national real estate company. Why? Because I wanted to grow up and start my life. I didn’t want to live at home, didn’t want to be a student, and I wanted to work full-time. I was a receptionist while in high school and college, and took business courses in high school, so I knew that I enjoyed the work.
As it is for many people, my career choice was accidental.
My administrative career continued to blossom, and each progressive job up the corporate ladder was more of an accident than a strategic move. In 1991 I became a trainer for the real estate company, training the administrative staff on computer usage and programs. That was also an accidental move.
In 1993, I started my training and speaking company, ON THE RIGHT TRACK. By that time, I was a bit older, a lot smarter, and more strategic in my thinking. I knew that I needed to work for not only financial reasons but for personal gratification. “Money” wasn’t enough of a motivator. As long as I made enough to pay my bills, money was a checkbox on my list of needs. I needed to want to go to work each morning.
I knew that I did what I did for a reason. I knew that I needed to help people.
As a teacher, a nurse, a receptionist, executive assistant, trainer, speaker, or consultant: I help people. I make lives easier. I like explaining to others how things work. I love the moment when the lightbulb comes on! I love knowing that when people read an article, attend a webinar or a workshop, or listen to my keynote at an event, they walk away with an “ah-ha!” they didn’t have before. That ah-ha! might be how to do something easier or faster or an understanding of why something happened.
Why do you do what you do? Leave the money aside. We have to work to pay the bills. So, assuming that many jobs could pay the bills, why do you have the job you have right now? Why are you in your career?
Do you do the job you have just because it is close to home and has a pension? Do you get satisfaction from knowing your company makes a difference in the world? Do you like helping behind the scenes, or helping people grow in their professional development?
What attracted you to your job? Why do you stay there?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”eG1Fg” via=”yes” ]What attracted you to your job? Why do you stay there?[/ctt]
My husband Warren studied accounting in college because he liked the challenge of reconciling books and found it rewarding to get to the end of a set of balanced books. He likes the structure and predictability of his career choice.
But, sometimes, those initial attractions die down. The challenge of a complicated budget can become tiresome. Finding new ways to deliver an “ah-ha!” to a highly trained audience can be hard work.
Typically, we go through periods when we feel unsatisfied or discouraged with our career choice. This means that sometimes we need to find our “why?” outside of work, too.
The same way that when you meet someone you love, initially just being with them is enough. It puts a spring in your step, a song in your heart, and you walk through each day wearing rose-colored glasses. While you may continue to love your partner many years later, that initial surge relaxes over time. I still love Warren, but my heart doesn’t skip a beat when my phone rings anymore J.
Your job can be the same way. You can still love it and know that it is the right job for you, but realize that you need other sources of motivation. That’s okay.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”bmq8C” via=”yes” ]It’s okay to need other sources of motivation to love your job. Here is how to figure out what they are.[/ctt]
I do what I do because I love it. I also love a lot of the perks that my career choice gives me. That combination keeps me very satisfied professionally.
It’s okay to love that your job is close to home, and that it has a pension. That isn’t enough reason alone to love your job, but it might be enough to keep you at your employer, in combination with loving what you do while you are at work.
My job requires a lot of travel. I love that. I don’t love it enough to be a flight attendant, but it adds to a job I already love.
Maybe you love learning but don’t want to go back to school. The fact that your job allows you to attend workshops and webinars is a perk that makes you love your job more.
Maybe you love a challenge, and the job itself is easy for you, but it allows you the time and opportunity to work on task forces or committees that provide you with the challenge you crave.
Perhaps you realize that you are extremely extroverted and love working with other people. The fact that your company is not going 100% virtual, permanently, is a good thing for you and makes you want to stay at the company. Or vice-versa. Perhaps you’ve realized over the past few months that you love working from home, and that has rekindled your passion for your job. Returning to the workplace might not be a bonus for you, because you’ve realized that what took away some of your passion for your job was the drama of the workplace.
I love the flexibility my job provides. It is currently Friday morning, and we are driving to see our grandson for the first time. The province has finally moved to Phase Two, so I can travel to go and see him. I’ll have him in my arms for the first time in a few hours.
That flexibility allows me to do things with my family that other jobs don’t allow for. That is yet another reason I love what I do.
Take a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons you do what you do. Is that list compelling? Does it refocus you on why you do what you do?
It does for me!