do what you love

6 October 2009

This weekend I attended the Gals Guide Summit.  It was a really great day of information, anecdotes, and meeting some really awesome women.

During both the money/financial panel and the career panel, I heard a constant familiar theme: Do what you love, love what you do.

I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard that, or something very similar.  It’s an amazing concept.  I know it was something that as an idealistic soon-to-be-college graduate, I heard a lot.  But now, mixed in with that message, just over 2 years out of college, I’m getting: take a job, any job — just find some sort of job.

As I’m sitting here, going into my third month of unemployment, I feel very torn.  I don’t want to settle for some job I’m going to hate, or even one I’m not going to look forward to.  What kind of employee am I going to be if I don’t want to be there?  But how long can I hold out for a job I’ll enjoy?  I am applying to jobs I’ll like — just recently I applied to a local toy store and am beyond excited about that possibility.

I am a person with a lot of passions.  I love audio engineering, web design, writing, editing, video production, wildlife, education, event planning, stage managing, music, organizing and arranging, networking, technical theater, sharing my joy for books, games, food, pretty much anything, I love decorating, cooking, design, layout, anything geeky, cupcakes… the list could continue for a very long time.  With so many interests and passions, surely, surely I could find something, right?

What I lack in experience in some areas (I mean, I do have 11 years of web design, 7 years of video, 8-9 years of writing/editing…) .. what I lack in experience, I completely make up in willingness to learn, passion, and just ability to pick things up.  A lot of my skills I’ve taught myself.  I never took a film class in college, but I was the Associate Producer for an award-winning documentary.  When I did take a web design class, I was also the class’s tutor.  Unfortunately, it feels like everyone is still seeking experience, rather than giving someone the opportunity to learn.

Sometimes I wonder, what am I not doing right?  How can I take one of those many things that I love, and turn it into a career?

Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough.

  • Or you could just do what I do and apply for what ever pays the most, regardless of whether it’s interesting or not.

    But then again, that does tend to suck a lot. At least I’ve had some pretty interesting jobs…

    • At this point, it might not be a bad idea. At least for a month or two.

      If it means I can stop getting kitty litter from the dollar store, I’m all for it.

  • i think you should put all of that “what i lack in experience i make up for in willingness to learn” paragraph into your cover letter.

    also, is your school’s career services willing to help you out? i know my school still does a lot of work with their alumni…

  • She

    I’m trying to figure this out myself, how do I find a way to invest my time into doing something I love? What was already a hard thing to figure out, has been made harder by this recession. Being unemployed, I don’t have the luxury to pick-and-choose what I want right now. Bills need to be pay unfortunately, so I’ll take what I can get until something better comes along.

    • As hard as it is for me to admit and accept, I think I need to do the same thing.

  • I doubt it means you aren’t looking hard enough. Just maybe the perfect things aren’t there at the moment.

    There’s nothing wrong with settling for a job you aren’t thrilled about because you need the money. That’s life. But if you take a job just to have a job, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep actively searching for a better, more worthwhile opportunity. After all, something is bound to appear eventually that you’re great at and absolutely love. In the mean time, there’s nothing wrong with working just to make bill payments and such.

  • Dani

    Do what you love is only true for some people, I’ve found. And, there are pluses and minuses to getting paid for your creativity. Case-in-point: an old friend of mine is now working full time for NPR, which he loves, but it saps his energy for poetry. He states unequivocally that he did some of his best creative work while he was temping – because there was nothing else to do but write. Lacey says the same thing – she would rather temp, because it gives her time to blog and write.

    For me, those I work with tend to be a deciding factor – if I’m surrounded by good folks, I’m happy to spend a chunk of my time at work. And I’m fine being in a position that does not sap my creative energies, so I can focus all of that on grad school, and my own writing. Some jobs can serve as a catapult to more creativity, and good creative communities, but I think it can end up being like all of those artists who go into advertising – it’s a zero-sum game. If your energy is spent on two commercials, you get paid, but you don’t get your comedy skit written.

    One of the apts I looked at was to live with a guy who discovered this as well–he’s an actor and writer. He was doing 9-5 work, but then said ‘fuckit’ and started a dog walking business. He’s much happier now! And has plenty of time to write and be funny.

  • Dani’s comment is dead on and actually just pushed me to apply for an office assistant position that I’m overqualified for. I guess if someone can pay me to use only part of my brain NOW, so I can do what I REALLY love later on, I’ll take it. Good luck on the search!

    • People definitely are a big factor. It can really make or break a job.

      I just had an interview at a store that looks to be a great job. 30-40 hours, family atmosphere… It’s retail, so there’s going to be a good deal of work in a lot of areas (loading, pricing, selling, cleaning — all that)… but I’m excited about it. *fingers crossed* that I get this!!

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