Older generations went to work to put food on the table. They didn’t have the luxury of feeling passionate about a job.
Now, kids are told they should find a career they feel passionate about. Right now, this month, I’d bet that every commencement speech on every campus in the country will include some aspect of “following your dream.”
Passion. It’s practically a sacrament. Steve Jobs, that prickly genius, said this:
“…The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
If that’s possible, great! Everybody should follow their passion in finding a career, but sometimes that isn’t possible. For me, work was critical for my mental health. It got me out of the house and gave me independence. I loved working, and I learned from everything I did. Here’s a list of my jobs from young age to old:
- Retail (mostly running a cash register, occasionally stocking shelves.)
- File clerk (I filed all day long, five days a week. They didn’t even give me a desk.)
- Payroll clerk (continuing the grunt work, but at least I had a desk)
- Various jobs within a public bureaucracy, mostly in accounting and human resources (augmented at times by selling cosmetics or tending bar at night)
- Eighteen years later, awarded my baccalaureate degree after attending school at night.
- High level management positions, including one after my first “retirement” in which I did consulting work for a law firm
- Retirement and a pension after thirty years in public service.
Now I’m free to follow my passion. As I sat with six of my writer friends yesterday, working on our chapters together, I felt such joy and gratitude. They’re helping me write a better story. Why? For the love of it.
Through our writing, we’re forming a community of people who are passionate about our work. We’re creating something that didn’t exist before, something that will inspire, enlighten, and entertain readers.
The fact that I had to wait until my late fifties to follow my passion? As the kids say, not a problem. Well worth the wait. BTW, here’s a fine article about life’s “third chapter” as experienced by top CEOs, later in life.
What about you? Did you have to delay your dreams? Are you able to pursue them now, and if so, what are they?