Thursday, March 29, 2018

Following the Need, Not Your Passion

I thought this video was pretty interesting and contained a message worth sharing with the public:

This computer engineer didn't leave his job at Google because he hated it.

That's what I had expected him to say.

He left his job because he wanted to devote his time to his YouTube channel, in which he teaches software engineer how to interview effectively to get hired.

Why am I featuring this video? He mentioned that his YouTube channel is more than his passion, since he would rather invest his time in stand-up comedy. He counsels interview prospects because he is good at teaching people how to prepare for those challenges.

His YouTube channel is not his passion--at all.

That statement reminded me of this video from PragerU:

Mike Rowe is a down-to-earth guy.

In this video, his life lesson urges his listeners not to get caught up in following their passion or demanding that they enter their dream job. Often, it comes down to finding the opportunity and making the most of it.

You can have your passions, take them with you into your careers, but taking on a rewarding career does not mean following your passion, or chasing your dream. It's essential for a man, for a family to take care of himself and his own.

I also like the point he made that even though our jobs may not line up with the dreams we had envisioned for ourselves, but our work ends up as our passion. We develop competence, skill, expertise, and notoriety because we can accomplish something noble and noteworthy for everyone.

On the other hand, I tend to believe that God's gifts and talents which He gives us often line up with our passions. That is the grace of God at work. In general, though, I understand the argument which these two professionals are making.

We can have hobbies, and we can enjoy the tasks and talents required of us in those skills, but we shouldn't throw ourselves heedlessly into these programs as though we can finance our lives behind our passions.

What's worse, many people have passions because of the results. They don't like to sing, but they want to be a famous singer, for example. They don't know the work that goes into acting, but they want the fame and fortune that is so often associated with acting.

This set-up reminds me of what I went through when I became a teacher. I liked what Jaime Escalante had accomplished, and I really looked up to one of my English teachers. I wanted to be a teacher just like them, and have the same kind of masterful results. Little did I realize how much work happens behind the scenes. In addition to that, I was an honors student enrolled in classes filled with other high achievers. When I became a teacher, I not only taught classes filled with average students, much of the time they were functionally illiterate!

The dreams, the hopes that I had envisioned when becoming a teacher fell apart very quickly when I entered student teaching. When I got my first full-time assignment as a teacher in LA Unified, I couldn't believe how fearful, how stressful the challenges were that I faced.

It was not a fun or engaging career after all. What I had imagined never lived up to the reality. Add to these disappointments the breakdown in families and the rule of law in public schools, and I quickly, sadly realized that education was not a worthy calling anymore.

At least for me. I worked in a grocery store for nearly three years after getting laid off from my last teaching job, and I actually had a lot of fun working in the checkstand. It was fun and engaging. Some of the customers and my coworkers were surprised that I had worked as a teacher, but I never . batted an eyelash with worry or concern about what people would think or say. "You work in a grocery store, but you used to be a teacher?"

Yes. I saw no problem with that, I had come to hate teaching so much, since I faced tedium or non-stop tension over and over again. Sure, we shouldn't seek out our passion as the one and only career, but work does not have to be drudgery, either.

Working at a grocery store was simply yet engaging. I wasn't bored for the most part. Stocking products was not the most fun, though. I enjoyed the simple challenge of getting customers through the checking line as fast as possible without any trouble. Lots of the customers really liked me, too.

So did my manager.

There you have the perfect example of how taking an opportunity is more important than following your passion. I had a passionate ideal of being a teacher, and it turned out to be a dud. I took a job as a food clerk because they had a need and I wanted a job, and it worked out, opening doors for me to apply for other customer service jobs and eventually work in a marketing firm later on.

It makes sense: don't just run after what you feel like doing, or what you fancy would be a great job. Go where there is opportunity, and where you have the commensurate skill set to succeed.

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