People who love their career are people who will always figure out how to love their work. There are people who love to work and people who love to do other things.
I learned this from looking at what I did in jobs I did not love. And I realized that I’d do the job quickly and then do another job. So I always had work I loved. I saw my official job as the thing I had to do on the side.
Here are some of the things people who love their career do intuitively, at any job they are in:
1. You compartmentalize.
I am happiest when I am writing, but there are a lot of parts of my blog I can’t stand. Like, every time the CDN comes up, I have no idea what people are talking about, so I spent an hour reading about it to know if I needed to know about it. (I don’t.)
Or I’ve had to figure out valuation – which is ridiculous for a blog, so it took me forever. And I’ve lost whole sections of the blog when we redesigned. And I’d wish whole sections could be lost as well.
As an expert compartmentalizer, I ignore these parts of the job when I ask myself if I like my job. Or I do these parts poorly and just wait for stuff to blow up. It’s irresponsible, but I’m not alone. Most people who love their career do parts of their job really poorly because they don’t care.
Another example is the two guys who own the florist in Pairs, Odorants. They’re famous for organizing flowers by scent. The bouquets are odd shaped and flowers unconventional because, like all people who love their work, they focus on what they like and don’t pay that much attention to the aspects of their work that don’t interest them.
2. You ignore non-work stuff.
If you love your career you don’t let other stuff derail you. The minute you put family first is when you don’t love your career — because it’s interfering with your family. That’s why most people who adore their work ignore everything else.
Attributes that make us love our work – that it’s challenging, that it matters, that we’re good at it — all depend on commitment and learning more and more over time. Which means other thoughts/dreams/opportunities fall by the wayside as the career becomes better and better as a result of commitment.
It starts to make sense that people who work for themselves are happier at work, AND they work longer hours than anyone else.
3. You have a work friend.
Melissa is my work friend. Of course. Although she no longer lets me pay her to work with me because I kept firing her, and she says I can’t fire her if I can’t pay her.
If you love your career then your work friend is someone who goes with you from job to job. Project to project. And you depend on each other.
I was going to tell you that Melissa and I share links like army buddies share ammunition. But Melissa just informed me that the links I send her are “too derivative.”
“What? What does that mean?”
“They summarize a bunch of in-depth articles I’ve already read and then dumb it down into something a fifth-grader can read.”
So we don’t share links. Because I am reading at the fifth-grade level. But Melissa shares links with me and I share them with you. Which maybe means you are my workplace friend and not Melissa.
But anyway, here is a good one she sent: The Commercial Zen of Muji
4. You job hunt all the time.
People who have great careers are great job hunters. For one thing, that’s how they got the great job they’re already in, but also because they’re always thinking about it in the back of their mind in case something pops up.
People who love their career love to talk about their career, which also means they interview well. And it’s always fun to find out that someone wants to hire you, even if you don’t take the job.
The Job Book describes this as having a sense of abundance. And I know many people who read job openings regularly to reconfirm that sense of security that there are always good opportunities for them. In fact, I know many people who go on interviews like people go on dates. They are not really interested in switching, they just want to know they could switch if they wanted to.
5. You make sure people admire you.
We all want to be admired for something. Part of having a great career is knowing what, exactly, you want to be admired for.
And forget money. None of us wants to be admired for how much money we have. We want to be admired for the particular thing we did to get that money. In fact, in the world of top performers, doing great work is a higher form of currency than the money itself.
I want you to admire me because you like my blog posts enough to always read until the end.