How can I do what I love and get paid for it? It’s the million dollar question. But the recent post, “You Don’t Have to Love Your Job” on Forbes’ Work in Progress career blog got me thinking about the notion of letting your job be just a job – you know, the means to an end – and pursuing your passion in your free time.
Normally, I’d protest that an Office Space-type of professional existence is no way to spend 1/3 (or more!) of your life. BUT, let’s face it, there are hordes of super-qualified people out there who have been unemployed since The Spice Girls reunion…and they’re lowering their standards every single day. Today alone, in completely unrelated conversations, two highly-educated, unemployed business leaders told me: “I’m done being picky, I’ll take anything at this point” and “I’m prepared to accept a much lower salary than I’m asking for.” (Not too inspiring is it?)
And these tough times aren’t just affecting the former fat cats. Today I also heard that scoring a job as a curbside server at The Outback requires several rounds of interviews and, not one, but TWO, psychological tests! (On the bright side, you no longer have to feel a tiny bit terrified when you send back your overdone steak).
In the past few years the professional ideology has morphed from “Love your job” to “Consider yourself damn lucky you still have a job.” So, given the circumstances, I will not protest the idea that you don’t have to love your job. For many, starting a business or changing careers is simply not realistic right now. For many, the goal is survival.
BUT (and this is a big, J.Lo booty-sized but) that doesn’t give anyone the permission to rest on their laurels. Don’t let these tough times push your dreams so far to the back of your mind that you eventually forget about them all together. Instead, figure out what you can do right now to better prepare yourself when the “right” time does come. Is it taking night classes to learn a new skill? Or going to networking events to meet the right people? Or developing a business plan?
Whatever it is, don’t let these tough times be wasted times because surely there will be good days again. And won’t you want to be ready to act when they finally do come?