I work with high school students helping them figure out what to do after high school and beyond. We talk a lot about careers and what job they should get. In our conversations, I think the most common question that I get asked, is what I love about my job…or how did I find the job that I love. I turn the question back on them in a different way…”Why do we work?”
Answer: To support a lifestyle
Careers, we all strive to find the perfect career for ourselves. I find that most people seek first their career, and then find the lifestyle that suits the career. You want to be a doctor? Super–you now have nice cars, a large house, and lots of debt (forgive my generalization). The most common mistake that I see in people choosing their careers is that they seek first the job, and then the lifestyle. It should be the other way around!
If we refer to my previous post about the meaning of life, life is about relationships. It’s not about careers or jobs. Our job is simply a way to get paid to support a lifestyle. If you love what you do, then it compliments your lifestyle of choice. I love interacting with people, clients, and working with technology–my lifestyle is built around this, thus I love my job. If I was a day trader (which I tried out for a quick spell…oh the stress!), I might have the money, and golly I enjoyed the work, but it didn’t support the lifestyle that I wanted that included relationships with my friends. It was an amazing job, but it didn’t support the lifestyle that I desired.
Where am I going with all of this? …I’m not trying to have people dropping their careers and starting new ones… I’m simply pointing out a tendency that we have to forget what life is all about. Don’t worry about what job you get for the job…does it support the lifestyle you want to lead? …and yes, being a doctor can most certainly support a lifestyle that is desirable. I don’t mean to rag on them–terribly sorry if that’s how it sounded.
Careers. We all hear about them and how important they are, but do we really inspect why we have a job at all? We all desire a lifestyle. This lifestyle is determined by things that are important to you. I enjoy being able to take pictures with fancy cameras; for you it might be snowboarding. Whatever we find important in our lives affects our lifestyle and influences how much money we need to live the lifestyle we desire. We get that money from our job. That’s pretty simple: we have a job to earn money to support our lifestyle.
Let’s get practical for a moment. Yes?
Here’s what I did…My financial planner suggested that I write down five or six, no more than seven, key aspects of my lifestyle that I desire. Once those are down, use them as a guide for my job/career. It’s similar to what I was saying in my post about organization…mission statements are key. While this isn’t a mission statement per-say, it is a practical tool to make sure that what I’m doing measures up.
So that’s that.