Doing anything worthwhile takes hard work, there is no way around that. But what a difference there is between the soul-sapping grind of work, when you are in the wrong career or job, and the heart-lifting joy of work that plays to your strengths and skills and feels worthwhile. It may not even feel like work, hence the famous words from Chinese sage Confucius: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
In my own working life, I enjoy coaching and training so much that it doesn’t feel like work now. It also gives me an opportunity to do what I’m good at. But of course developing the skills and gaining the experience to make it feel easy has taken time and energy. And I like the fact that this is a line of work where there is always more to learn and master, so it never gets dull. But in order to have a business doing what I love, I also need to do things that I don’t enjoy such as keeping accounts, cross-referencing, proofreading. To some extent these tasks can be outsourced, but the reality is that most of them are done by me, as part of what needs to be done to keep myself in business.
The 80/20 rule offers us a useful rule of thumb. Is more than 20 % of your time, one day out of five if you work full time, spent on work that you really dislike, or which you are not good at? If the answer is yes, then perhaps it is time to consider a change. This may be to a different career, a different organisation, or a different role. And if you’re not sure what to do next in your working life, you might find career coaching helpful.
by Felicity Dwyer