Stories Talk | Presentation Skills and Effective Storytelling
When it comes to career advice, we usually hear things like "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life” or "do what you love and money will come as well". Lana Del Rey said that “doing what you love is freedom; loving what you do is happiness."
By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
Tip 1: Let's not do what we love, let's do what allows us to have the life we want
There is nothing inherently wrong with this career and life advice. In fact, those words may have convinced many people to follow their passions, chase their dreams and aim for the top. After all, who doesn't want to do a job they love? It sounds great and for some people, it certainly is. This guidance has probably produced countless doctors, actors, lawyers, musicians, and many others, and likely led to extraordinary achievements and innovations—from life-changing medical breakthroughs to Oscar-winning movies.
However, the problem is that this advice doesn't really work for everyone and we need to stop pretending that it does.
There are people with high emotional intelligence who, while they started doing the job they love, after a decade of daily stress, high pressure, non-existent personal life and without such great financial rewards to compensate for any of the above, decided to drop out because they were "burnt".
So let's look at some things with a more realistic viewpoint.
Tip 2: Let's limit the advice "do what you love"
The phrase "do what you love" is short-sighted professional advice that doesn't take reality into account. It ignores the difficulties and different situations that every person lives, especially today, in a society that makes it easier for some and perhaps impossible for others to do what they love.
After all, it's easier to do what you love if you come from a wealthy family that can cover your studies in the best schools or abroad. It's easier to do what you love if it happens to be in the sought-after professions of the time like IT than if you prefer, say, painting or sculpting. It's also much easier to do what you love if you're not dealing with mental health issues, a disability or a chronic illness.
Here we should also add the great and continuous update that seems to have occurred in the recruitment criteria of human resources as well as the phenomenon of the "Great Resignation" of employees, both globally and in Greece. According to research, there has been a tendency, especially among the younger generations, to prioritise their personal life over their professional life, even if they are doing what they love.
Also, we must mention the fact that some people may never find their calling while others stay stuck in a career path they used to love because they are afraid of losing the progress they have made.
It's time to replace the outdated career advice with a new one: "Let's build the life we love." For some people, this may mean following their passion as their profession. For others, it may be finding a job they don't hate and building their life around it.
Tip 3: Let's build the life we love
Now, we might think, "But what if my dream life doesn't include work?". OK, everyone would probably love to live a life of leisure, but that is not possible for most of us. To some extent, work is inevitable. Not only because we have to pay our bills, but also because according to research, not working isn't very good for our brains. Also, doing the work we like carries great value. High job satisfaction is associated with better physical and mental health. Happiness at work increases productivity, lowers stress levels and boosts our self-esteem. But there's a long way between "doing what you love" and absolutely hating your job. Instead of doing a job that brings us more money but doesn't bring us joy, or taking a job with no money just because it's in line with our passion, let's find a middle ground.
The best job to create the best life for us might just be something that creates space for work-life balance to exist. For example, if we like traveling, writing, or flexible hours, we could create a travel site.
Obviously, implementing this solution is sometimes easier said than done. It takes a lot of searching and asking ourselves the hard questions about the life we want, the choices we've made and how we can move forward.
Tip 4: Let's remember that we are more than what we do
To build the life we love, we need to identify what really matters to us and perhaps realise that it might also be possible to enjoy our life even if we aren’t "doing what we love" professionally. We don't have to follow a recipe. We will lose something, we will win something, but let's be sure of the positive financial part. This will improve our relationships, cover us financially and give us the free time to enjoy the money we make and make us more creative. It's time to challenge the myths that connect what we do to who we are—something that affects us all, from high school students exploring future career options to executives rethinking their current career paths. And let's encourage people to pursue dream lives instead of dream jobs. Because doing what you love should be about the life you live, not just the job you do.