The Marketplace doesn’t care about your passion

There is this belief that each one of us is gifted with this one field where we are the happiest. If only we can find our passion, we can follow it into a job of our dreams. Many find this liberating, but I actually find this belief to be annoying and stressful.

I am 35, and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t think I ever will. I feel that actually, the people you work with and your boss determine your entire work situation.

I didn’t know that when I first got out of school. I had a Chemistry BS and some Medical education. I thought that my dream job would be making new discoveries to change the world. At least I could do this for eight hours a day until it was time to go home and write the Great American Novel.

However, I had nasty bosses for years. Each time I moved on, it turned out that they really valued my work, but they thought that being nasty was the only thing to _motivate_ me. The opposite is actually the case. I’d move mountains for a nice boss, but with a nasty one, I’ll merely do the job while looking for a way out. I had the a nice boss for the first time in my life last year at a temp job as an administrative assistant. This made me realize that I’m actually a great employee and the only problem with my “career” is that I always had crappy bosses.

This leads me to just look for a nice boss no matter what the field. I keep reading about following one’s passion, but I don’t have one in the traditional sense. I want to write novels. But I have to feed myself first. Does this make me some kind of fraud like an illegitimate worker? When they ask me why I want this job, I feel like I’m lying. I can’t say that, “I’m just working here until my writing career takes off.” This fills me with stress.

At least at my last job, my boss was refreshing. He told me, “Of course your time sheet is important. Why else would you come here?” Yes! Why do so many employers create this charade that no matter how shitty your job is, this has to be the thing you wanted to do all your life. I hate it because it makes me feel like a phony. I made the mistake of telling one research boss the truth, and they canned me shortly after that.

Even though I was always made to feel that I had to pretend I had my dream job, I feel that most people are _not_ following their passion. They seem to be happier than the ones who actually were following their passion, the scientists I worked under. The scientists seemed to be bent out of shape at the smallest thing, while the passionless people seemed to be more relaxed sometimes they even seemed happy. At my last job everyone admitted that they’d rather be on the beach, but they weren’t so upset all the time.

Note, I’m NOT saying take a job you hate. I’m just relating what I have observed. People don’t realize that is that jobs are not created to give people fulfillment nor are they made to give people interesting things to do with their time. Jobs are created because people need stuff to get done. People need to eat so there are farmers and cooks, for example.

Still, I think that people should spend a lot of time thinking about what they want to do in life. I regret not thinking my own career out a lot more than I did. I was so caught up in actually becoming a surgeon, I never realized that surgery was a terrible profession for me. I don’t like to stand on my feet knowing that if I mess up, I could kill this person. Even if I don’t mess up this person could still die. Plus, I don’t like the idea of not being able to go to the bathroom when I have to go.

They should get into an interesting field with people are similar to them. Their job should challenge them as much as they wish to be challenged. But you have to look at the big picture, too. Often the most interesting subjects in school don’t lead to the most interesting jobs.

I loved Chemistry in college, but I realized that working in a lab would probably suck because I would spend most of the time dealing with smelly chemicals, which I hate, and very little time in the imaginary world of atoms which I love. Ten years later as a lab technician, I was right, it sucks. I’m clumsy so I often mess up my experiments because I make one tiny mistake or another. I prefer a job where all my mistakes can be fixed with the backspace key.

Therefore, I actually love the day to do of a routine administrative assistant which sounds dull on paper, but it can be a great time when co-workers have a good sense of humor and the work is light enough to allow daily blogging. So I suggest those still reading to not only think of their passion, whatever that is, but how they’d like to spend time day to day. Because that’s what a job is. Day to day. Most of the really cool stuff you do in school will never come up in the real world. Out of all the complex equations I learned in Chemistry classes, I only use one equation. It was taught in high school Chemistry.

Another example: Medicine might seem like an awesome subject on paper. Doctors look so cool in their while strutting around hospitals. When you think of the day to day, it kind of sucks. You wind up seeing a lot of people who are dying. People who have given up hope on life. People who want to abuse you because their stay at the hospital sucked. You wind up dealing with blood, pus, feces, and urine. Part of your day, you have to stick your finger up people’s assholes. Yuck!

Once you realize what kind of day you want, you should pick a major that will lead to this kind of job. I never saw anyone suggest this. If you want to go home at five PM then look into office jobs, but don’t become a lawyer.

Finally, if you find that your dream job is not all your dreamed, that’s OK. The dirty secret is that dream jobs are never perfect. There is always something missing; and there are always things you have to do that you don’t like. For example, for all the glamor, models have to look like their having a good time even when they’re not. If that sounds easy then try it. It’s much tougher and more stressful than something that sounds boring like office filing.

The best way to deal with life is to be happy where you are rather than chasing this elusive “passion.” If your job sucks and you hate your life, you should probably get a new job. But, if your job is tolerable and you can hang out with the people you work with and you get paid enough to live on, you are as much of a success as anyone who is “living their dream.”


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