Research Paper By Yuri Cavallin
(Career Coach, SPAIN)
We live in the richest and wealthiest world that humans have ever seen. The technological process keeps makings huge progress. We can move all over the world within a few hours, we can make video calls with people in other countries, we can cure the majority of hilliness.
Yet, most people hate their life. Or don’t feel satisfied with it. Or keep thinking that they deserve better, that there’s more for them out there, but they just can’t reach it.
But this is not a happiness paper, it’s research about jobs, and more specifically, about how to love your job.
For the vast majority of people, a job is something essential to living, to earn money, which starts early in life and lasts for at least 40 years. We could say that half of the life of a person is spent working, and each day around 8 hours (1/3 of a person’s day) is spent working.
Job occupies a huge role in our life. It determines the person we are, what we do every day, the people we spend our time with. Choosing a job it’s not an easy matter, it’s a very delicate and important decision, and it must be taken with consciousness.
The Way Too Early To Take Choice
The main problem I see with choosing a job is that this decision has to be taken very early in life when you know nothing (and maybe dislike a little) the “grown-up” world, and you know very little about what your passions are and how you like to spend your free time.
From my personal experience, I can say there’s still a lot of work to do to help young children identify what they might like and what they’re good at. Too much is left to them, and they’re simply too young to know the world, to know themselves, and to realize how important is to choose wisely what school they want to join, because that choice will determine a vast majority of their life.
This gap is causing many people to end up hating their job, regretting making the wrong choice. Based on a poll conducted by Gallup in 2019, 85% of people are unhappy in their jobs. Finding yourself at 30/40 years old asking what you should do with your life it’s a very scary position because it forces you to put at risk everything. Maybe you already have a family, you have kids, you have a mortgage to pay and you are terrified by the idea of starting all over again. Going back to school, recreate your resume from scratch, starting as an intern. It’s all a huge risk.
As a career coach, I’d like to help to close the school gap and support teenagers make the right choice or at least a more conscious one. Help them discover themselves, asking powerful questions to force them to think deeply and, even if it’s early in their life, try to make a choice inherent with all the information they have about themselves.
What Drives Your Choice
If you were like me, as a young kid you had posters in your room of different celebrities. Rockstars, actors, athletes, superheroes.
But why do we do that? Why do we want to have them always close to us and see them every day?
Because, as kids, we want to be like them. We’re just starting to know the world, knowing ourselves, and we’re looking for models to imitate. We want to speak how they speak, dress how they dress, because we want to have our own identity, so we build one based on what we see on tv, commercials, internet.
Or in certain families with a stricter education, parents transmit their values to their kids because they want to be like them. They want them to follow the same career they chose, ignoring the nature of the kid.
The point is that when you’re young, your own identity is built on someone else’s one. It’s not your true one, because you don’t know yourself enough, you hadn’t the chance to find out who you are in the world.
Most of the times when it comes to choosing the school to attend, a kid might decide based on where his group of friends is going, where his girlfriend is going, or where his parents suggested him to go (or not to go, because they thought the kid’s choice wasn’t right). None of these options have anything to do with who he really is, but they have everything to do with the expectations he absorbed, with what the world is telling him to do.
The decision is coming from the outside, not from the inside, and in the long term, this will have huge repercussions on his own satisfaction and proudness.
You Can Be Whoever You Want To Be
While at first, this sounds like a great thing, it’s actually a very scary one, especially for a young man. “You can be anything, you can do everything” it’s a piece of generic and useless advice. While it might be true that you can achieve everything you want with the right amount of constancy and dedication, it’s not useful when you’ve no idea of where to start.
Giving a person an infinite amount of choice won’t let her feel free, it will just give her a reasonable reason to panic. But this is what young kids are given. An indistinct amount of possibilities where they can choose from, without any support to help them make a choice.
Many of us have been “indoctrinated” with the belief that we should try to be as inherently accepting and affirmative as possible. This is a cornerstone of many of the so-called positive thinking books: open yourself up to opportunities, be accepting, say yes to everything and everyone, and so on.
But we need to reject something. Otherwise, we stand for nothing. If nothing is better or more desirable than anything else, then we are empty and our life is meaningless. We are without values and therefore live our life without any purpose […] We are defined by what we choose to reject. And if we reject nothing we essentially have no identity at all.” – The subtle art of not giving a f*ck, Mark Manson
A person’s identity is forged when he starts understanding what she likes and what she doesn’t, what she accepts and what she doesn’t, what she wants, and what she rejects. And those choices are all driven by a person’s values, which are built over time living different life experiences.
But as we’ve seen before, a young kid has very little understanding of what his values are. Most of the themes are copied from the ones of his idols, from his parents, or his friends. He doesn’t really understand them, he sees other people making certain types of choices and he simply copies them, because he wants to be part of something.
When he’ll grow up he’ll have more knowledge of himself, he’ll know better what he likes and what he doesn’t, and that will be the moment when he’ll know if he has taken the right career path.
Start From Your Values
There is freedom and liberation in commitment. I’ve found increased opportunity and upside in rejecting alternatives and distractions in favor of what I’ve chosen to let truly matter to me. […] Rejection of alternatives liberates us – rejection of what does not align with our most important values, with our chosen metrics, rejection of the constant pursuit of breadth without depth.” – The subtle art of not giving a f*ck, Mark Manson
To choose a job you love, you must have a clear understanding of what your values are. This means ignoring all the external noises, what your friends and your family have been telling you for all your life. Only you can know what those values are. They have their own, you have yours.
When it comes to choosing a career path, a man should know exactly the kind of person he is and what he values. Unfortunately, a young kid never had a chance to think about it, because nobody actually asked him about this. What he was told is that he should choose a job that he might like based on the expectation society has for him, ignoring his values and simply following the common path.
As a career coach, I can support teenagers and young man understanding the importance that their values take when choosing a job. I can make them think deeply about what they want, what their ideals life might look like, ignoring all the external voices they heard for their life and focusing on their inner self.
I can provide exercises aimed to help them discover who they are, their values, and gain the self-awareness required to make a more conscious choice.
The Roadtrip To Your Dreams
You don’t discover your passion. You develop your passion. It is something that gets developed by actually living and being curious and open to learning new ideas and crafts. ‘Discover’ sounds like it’s under a rock somewhere and one day you’ll find it. Then you’ll have it. It’s much more gradual than that. It takes years for many people to develop a calling before they can say, ‘This is what I was meant to do. – Don’t keep your day job, Angela Duckworth
In their book “ROADMAP”, the guys from Roadtrip Nation provide a huge list of advice and steps to follow to know and understand more yourself and find a career path you love.
I love the title they chose, “ROADMAP”, because finding a job you love it’s not a linear path, it’s a complicated and difficult road made with many up and downs and turnaround. As they say “Life is linear only in the rearview mirror”.
Yet the main concept that comes up from the book is that it all starts from you. From your passions and your values (or “foundations” as they call it). You know you’ve found your ideal job when you can say “This is not a hobby for me; this IS me”.
Ignoring your Foundation, or not digging enough to discover it, is a sure way to amplify your dissatisfactions and frustrations. It might take years to discover, or it might surface tomorrow morning, but as we’ve seen with so many Leaders, understanding it creates a sense of urgency to act on it.- ROADMAP, ROADTRIP NATION
A very useful exercise to discover your Foundation is to simply try to fill in this sentence with what more resonates with you:
“As long as I’m ______________ I’ll be happy”
Some example of what might come up for you could be:
- Working with others/building relationships
- Building things
- Communicating/sharing stories
- Helping people
- Learning/challenging myself mentally
- Working independently
- Upholding a cause I believe in
- Being creative
- Being physically active
- Accomplishing my goals
This is a great way to start learning something new about yourself, to go deep inside who you are, and discover what drives and motivates you.
I truly believe that coaching can be a powerful tool to help people learn more about themselves, and as a consequence help them make more conscious choices. A job is something that represents you, it’s usually one of the first things you say about yourself when you meet someone new, it shows other people what you like and it gives an idea of your passions.
Choosing the right career is crucial to have a life to be proud of, to live with meaning, and not having to wait for weekends or summers to feel happy about your situation.
It all starts with knowing yourself, and as a career coach, I’d love to support young people understand the importance of a job and the role their values have in it, so they can take the right path before it gets too late and making a change is impossible.
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.– Steve Jobs
Why 85% of people hate their job
“Don’t keep your day job”, Cathy Heller
“The subtle art of not giving a f*ck”, Mark Manson
“Roadmap”, Roadtrip Nation