Life Is More Work: Why You Shouldn't Believe In The Myth Of Calling

A life 2023

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Life Is More Work: Why You Shouldn't Believe In The Myth Of Calling
Life Is More Work: Why You Shouldn't Believe In The Myth Of Calling
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"Who do you want to become?" - a question that most of us begin to think about almost from kindergarten. Everything that surrounds us, as if urges not to delay the decision - from mandatory tests for vocational guidance at school to conversations with loved ones who share their experience, suggest to go the same way or, conversely, not to repeat their mistakes. Since childhood, we are sure that this is one of the most responsible decisions that we have to make: the level of our comfort directly depends on what we have to do forty hours a week.

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Alexandra Savina

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“You must understand that you love. This is true for your work and for your personal life, - said Steve Jobs in 2005 to graduates of Stanford University. - Work will take up a significant portion of your time, and the only way to be truly satisfied with what you are doing is to do everything well. And the only way to do your job well is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Do not stop". The name Steve Jobs is one of the first that comes to our minds when it comes to love for work - it seems to be the clearest example of how passion for one's own business can lead a person to incredible success. We've all heard that you need to “choose a job you like and you won't have to work a day” or that it is enough to do what you love, and that, in turn, will bring recognition and financial success. But in practice, it turns out that this seemingly simple scheme does not work in all cases: there are a lot of those around who are dissatisfied with their current work, and those who seem to have found a calling, but cannot start earning more on it.

Of course, no one says that you should not look for a "business to your liking" - your favorite activities can really bring results. For example, a University of Warwick study of over 700 people found that happy people are 12% more effective at work than those who feel less happy. Naturally, the mood at work can be influenced not only by what we are directly involved in, but the favorite tasks will clearly bring more pleasure than what you are not at all interested in. Other research shows that work that a person considers meaningful can affect productivity - employees in such situations begin to open up more and become more involved in what they are doing. Another study claims that job satisfaction affects the overall performance of a company; however, it is too early to make an unambiguous conclusion that employee happiness is the main motivational mechanism in the world of work.

Any job, no matter how pleasant

she was, there will certainly be less pleasant aspects to which you have to adapt or learn to endure them

The problem is that any job, no matter how enjoyable it may be, will necessarily have less pleasant aspects to which you have to adapt or learn to endure them - simply because work is fundamentally different from rest. From monotonous bookkeeping and budgeting to lengthy planning meetings or meetings with particularly unfriendly clients, even the strongest love of business cannot turn it into absolute fun. Getting up early, adhering to a work schedule and a task schedule requires willpower and consistency and does not fit well with the concept that doing business should bring joy all the time without stopping.

What is seen from the outside does not always reflect the full picture: as a rule, we pay attention only to other people's results or the most noticeable aspects of the work, without delving into its very essence.Journalist Miya Tokumitsu has written Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness, a book about the culture of “definitely loving work” and finding your own vocation. She was amazed at how much this culture is tied to visual images: “For a while I was subscribed to several corporate accounts on Instagram. They are run by individual PR people or interns, and they don't just post pictures of the products or events they are promoting. Often they post photos of work trips or workflows, for example from filming a catalog, presenting their work as super fun and joyful. I was amazed that they used photographs of their work to sell products. " In her opinion, often such a “selling” image appears only in “beautiful” working moments and industries - everything that is not so presentable is left out.

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Another common opinion is “the main thing is to work hard and hard, and then success will come by itself”. Alas, in reality, a career does not always develop linearly. The fact that this or that occupation brings us pleasure does not mean that we will be so much better than others in it in order to withstand the competition and receive a decent, in our opinion, compensation for it. Remember how often, in addition to success stories, opposite situations arise when a person fails to monetize what he loves - or fails to do only it, while remaining financially free enough. Moreover, what brings you pleasure may not necessarily be the most beneficial solution for you. For example, there are only two writers in the Forbes list of the 100 highest paid celebrities: J.K. Rowling (42nd line) and James Patterson, known for thrillers and detectives (16th position). Obviously, compared to other areas of entertainment, the opportunity to achieve a huge fortune will be much lower here. Of course, navigating the Forbes list is impossible for most of us. But the average wage level differs even within the same industry - let alone the difference between individual professions. It is unlikely that a person who considers it their vocation to be a teacher in a municipal kindergarten will ever earn as much as the head of the IT department - the principle of "working hard and hard" does not guarantee that something will turn out to be changed.

Perceiving work as an abstract "vocation", we are used to thinking about it in the same terms that often describe partnerships and love in general: "one", "once and for all." But, as with stereotypes in relationships, the real picture is often quite different: the profession may not be at all what we imagined it to be (you probably have friends who dropped out of medical school after the first visit to the autopsy or first practice), or it can reveal unpleasant and even painful moments that cannot be avoided - for example, the inability to grow and develop further, or the level of salaries, above which, while remaining in the same position, it is impossible to rise. In addition, the thought of a vocation can create a space for manipulation on the part of the employer: is it possible to present any claims to the "unconditionally loved" business? What sacrifices are worth making in the name of great love for a vocation?

It's strange to wait that our principles, thoughts

and desires will remain the same

throughout the career

In addition, the labor market is a mobile sphere, and what was in demand today will not necessarily be useful tomorrow. It's not just the frequent fear that robots will replace all of us as specialists (and how exactly automation will affect different areas is still unknown). It is quite possible that you do not know that something can become your "calling", because this sphere does not exist in principle.For example, fifteen years ago it was difficult to imagine how widespread the blogging profession would become - and important platforms like Instagram or Telegram did not exist at all. Against this background, it is not the specific things that you like to do, but the skills and inclinations in general that become much more important - it is not known what may be useful in this or that situation. Moreover, we ourselves are changing: at thirty-five and forty-five, the requirements that we make to our own profession and employers can be very different from what we want at twenty. It's strange to expect that our principles, thoughts and desires will remain the same throughout our career - or that we will be interested in doing the same for thirty or forty years in a row.

The danger of the vocation myth is that it offers a seemingly simple answer to a difficult question. Is it possible to fit everything that you are interested in and what you like about yourself within the framework of one label-name of the profession - or even one area? Is it worth it to strive to find the "only" thing that you would like to devote your life to if you are interested in completely different things that are incompatible with each other? And if what you would like to devote your life to does not bring the results that you would like - are you ready to find a balance between your own comfort and the desire to do just that? Or, instead of "the only" one should look for simply interesting, beloved and sufficient?

We are used to the fact that the profession is an important part of our identity: remember how quickly in a conversation with new acquaintances you find out who they work, and how often conversations with friends and partners are built around events in the office. Of course, it is impossible not to pay attention to what you spend forty hours or more a week - but your whole life is hardly limited to these forty hours.

Photos: paul - stock.adobe.com (1, 2, 3)

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