Monday, April 26, 2010

Perchance To Dream

Don't give up on the dreams you never had

Years ago I landed my dream job and showed up for my first day in my Theory suit and 3-inch high Louboutins, pretty much as excited as a person can possibly be. I walked out that first day with a burnt hand (coffee accident), blisters from wearing heels all day, and the realization that perhaps this wasn't going to be the job I had envisioned it to be.

I didn't last very long, just long enough to be sure that I couldn't make it work, and after that I was saddled with this nagging concern: What am I going to do now? I was only twenty-five and already jaded with the notion that I no longer had any goals to work toward since my dream job had turned out to be miserable.

I was thinking about this today after a conversation with a friend last night who said she had a similar experience when she got laid off from her company about a year ago and she commented in passing, "I never thought I would end up working in finance; I never saw myself doing this."

It made me wonder how many others feel the same way.

I don't know too many people that LOVE their jobs. No one is a huge fan of working. But I do know a few people, a really small select few, who do have an earnest passion for what they do.

My father, towards the end of his career, was one of these people. He is this complete math and finance nerd who used to read textbooks cover to cover just for the fun of it and thrived in a quantitative position at his firm. But even he took many, many years to get to that place, and was terribly unhappy for about two decades while he was working up the corporate ladder.

I think, on principle, it is hard to take something you love and make a career out of it, and the people that have enough talent and passion to do so are almost inevitably successful.

A decade ago, when I was 17 and graduating from High School, I had no real idea what I wanted to do with my life, which is pretty on par for a 17-year old, but surprisingly, I have come back full circle to where I thought I would like to be. I knew I wanted to write and that I loved to read and somehow along the way I'd like to be able to figure out how to build a career around that.

It wasn't until years later in college that I took my first marketing course and got interested in fashion and my career goals shifted. It's funny how things like that work out.

After all, it's the road blocks that define who we will become. Or I'm just paraphrasing what Steve Jobs said at a Stanford Commencement Speech in 2005.

"I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple...Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle."

And I think Conan O'Brien said it best at his farewell address from The Tonight Show: "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen."

Pretty inspiring words.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice one.