One of my favourite websites is Gavin Aung Than’s Zen Pencils, so imagine how happy I am whenever he writes, illustrates and muses on anything even loosely related to career development and work/life.
Gavin has a great career story (as explored in this Forbes article) so when he picked out the quote below there was a very personal connection…
Choosing a job I loved was never a mission for me, until I got a sniff of something I enjoyed doing, then this quote from Confucius made all kinds of sense.
Supporting other people to find jobs they might be able to love became a mantra I happily endorsed for everyone but I’ve since learned this wisdom is far from universal.
One simple yet brilliant insight cementing this learning for me came from David Dean – a trailblazer and leading-light in the UK careers and employability industry – of Bright Sparks Coaching. In a discussion related to finding a career or work with the ability to deliver genuine meaning, David said the following,
“I would suggest that some of the most balanced folk in the workplace have jobs. The jobs are for wages a bit of fun during the shift, then the important stuff of life starts on clocking out.”
David’s point was a good one. It’s fine if you can’t find, don’t choose or don’t worry too much about finding a job you love doing. There are plenty of other things in life offering satisfaction, fulfilment and meaning.
Today, I still love this quote from Confucius, and still see evidence for it everywhere in abundance. It remains true that if we can find or choose a job we love, we’ll never work another day in our lives.
But, and of no less note and importance, if we don’t love our work, or we haven’t yet been able to find or choose a job we’ve fallen in love with, there’s no penalty, no harm and no foul. If that sounds familiar, perhaps a more accurate adaptation of Confucius’ wisdom would be this…
Find something or someone you love – understand how your work supports this love – and you’ll never work a day in your life either.
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