In the movie "Up in The Air," the character of George Clooney is a third party professional hired to tell people they are being let go because of company downsizing. Talking to a bitter character played by JK Simmons, Clooney gently reminds the terminated employee that this guy’s original dream was to run his own restaurant before such dream was killed by an easy employment that got in the way.
I have many friends who were “forced” into a job because it was the only one available. Once there, they loved the comfort zone. Oftentimes, it’s hard to give up the money, especially if we’re supporting a family.
But there’s a thing called regret.
Songwriter Bronnie Ware used to work in the ward for the terminally ill. In many conversations with dying patients, she learned that the biggest regret of people is that they were not able to live the life they had wanted.
In the book "The Miracle Morning," bestselling author Hal Elrod mentioned a finding by the Social Security Administration (United States) that after working for 40 years, 95% of people are NOT living the life they had wanted for themselves.
I know one way it can happen.
After graduating from college, my cousin got me employed as a personnel clerk in a factory making steel barrels and buckets. I was only twenty but the head of personnel already said that I could be his successor. It could have been an easy climb. My office mates were the nicest people in the world. But I knew it wasn’t the one for me.
As far back as I could remember, I was sure that it was writing and drawing that made me happy. So, on lunch breaks, I walked under the sweltering heat of the sun, feeling my rubber soles burn as I searched for every ad agency in the phone book. I knew that my future was somewhere in those tall towers in the distant Makati horizon. At least 20 of them rejected me but I didn’t give up because I was looking for the train stop for the journey of my life.
Do you already know what you want to do for the next part of your life?
Sir Ken Robinson is an international advisor on education and is probably the most viewed speaker on TED talks. In the book "The Element," Dr. Robinson wrote the element is “the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion.” He also said that “when we are in our element, we feel we are doing what we are meant to be doing and who we were meant to be.”
To know our element, let’s answer the question Dr. Robinson wants us to ask ourselves: “If left to my own devices –if I didn’t have to worry about making a living or what others thought of me –what am I most drawn to doing?”
Getting paid for doing what we love is a formula for happiness. But how much do we want to get paid ?
A higher-paying job is not necessarily a better job because a sense of fulfillment is greater than money. But if the amount of money we earn is not enough to pay for rent and food, worry will keep us from getting focused. The feeling of being underpaid will eventually take a toll on our self-esteem, too.
In the book "Born For This," writer and entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau suggests we find ourselves a job that offers a combination of “joy, money and flow.” Joy is what we get when we do what we love to do. Money is what enables us to keep doing our job. Flow is about being “in the zone” that we almost forget the passage of time as we do our best for the work.
Then again, many people don’t even know what gives them joy.
If we’re young, we can experiment. We can try different jobs until we say “this is the one I’d like to grow old with.” I guess it’s so much like looking for Mr. or Ms. Right.
Mr. Guillebeau’s another advice is for us to build our own side business while we keep our day job. For example, I know so many employees who do events planning or magazine writing or t-shirt printing during the weekends. I think this is so much easier to do now that the social media can be a free self-promotion tool. When the side business proves to give us more happiness and the kind of money we want, then it will be time to choose.
In the movie "Up In The Air," some of the people they fired were already approaching 60. They were told that it is never too late to “build an empire or to change the world.”
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About the Author:
Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.