Confucius is attributed with saying “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”.
While I think the concept behind this sentence is fantastic, I feel that there is a risk that it will be taken too broadly by those entering the workforce. On hearing this quote and the many other motivational statements that get thrown around like “follow your dreams” and “find your passion” new employees may make the following mistakes:
Mistake Number 1: Unrealistically believing that those who are passionate about their jobs love every aspect of them…all the time.
While it may theoretically be possible for someone to love every aspect of their job, I’ve never met anyone who does. Even the most engaged business people dislike elements of their role and experience periods when they don’t like their job at all. These employees tolerate these moments however, because they know that the good aspects of their jobs, more than compensate for the bad.
Mistake Number 2: Prematurely leaving a role when initially given uninteresting tasks.
For those readers who are about to start work with a new employer, please bear the following in mind: your new boss, while going to a lot of effort to ensure that you have the right credentials, the right experience and the right personality to fit in with the team, won’t know for sure that s/he has made the right decision and can trust you, until you start producing output.
Your new boss will quite likely give you work that needs doing, but that won’t really matter if it gets done slowly or poorly. This work is quite likely going to be boring. Please do these mundane tasks efficiently and to a very high standard – in short, exceed your manager’s expectations. In doing so, you will build the trust of your employer, who in all likelihood will give you progressively more challenging and interesting tasks to undertake. As you continue to deliver excellent results (building a great personal brand) you will be given more freedom to choose the work that you want to do.
What I’m recommending in summary therefore, is this: don’t continually change roles, searching for that utopian job that you will love right from the beginning, every minute of every day. Instead, find a job that you believe you will enjoy (most of the time and once you’ve built the trust of your boss), that challenges you, teaches you useful skills for the future, fills a need in society and has a high probability that you will succeed in. Maybe then you’ll love your job, even if elements of it feel like work.