June 13, 2013
New grads: You don't have to love your job
Your job -- what's love got to do with it?
Most of us are told, "Follow your passion"; "Do what you love and the money will follow"; "If you love your job you'll never have to work a day in your life."
For college grads entering one of the toughest labor markets in years, is this good advice? Is it ever good advice?
Maybe not. Maybe it just adds to the pressure. If you are one of the many people who don't yet know what you love, being told you need to come up with your "one true purpose" -- and pronto -- is probably not helping you much right now.
So it might help to know this interesting fact: Most people, even those who have identified what they feel is their one true purpose, can be happy and fulfilled in any number of jobs.
After all, who has just one interest or one thing they're good at? Plus, your skills, interests and abilities are going to change as you go through life. What you need from your work will change, too. There will be years when money will edge out love. There will be years when love really will be what it's all about.
And guess what? No career, no matter how amazing or fulfilling, is going to give you joy every single day of every single year. Every job will have parts you don't like. Even hate.
But most of all, these exhortations to "find your bliss" have it backward. Love is not where you start; love is where you end up. Loving your work is what happens when you have found and are doing meaningful work, work that uses your best abilities and also contributes something positive to the world.
You may not discover what this work is tomorrow, or next week, or next year. It is, as they say, a journey. Meanwhile, turn that ordinary job you have, or are looking for, into an extraordinary one.
How? Here's a hint: Make finding a good boss or mentor your priority -- someone who can inspire you, energize you and help lead you toward that path of true career bliss.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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