I have a mug that says this on the side in cute, right-aligned, lower case serif letters:
The alignment, the blatant disregard for conventional spacing, capital letters and punctuation give it a playfulness I love and I find makes my heart smile a little each time I read it.
Does ‘work’ feel adventurous to you?
In a small way, isn’t this what work could feel like, too? I can hear the voices of droning mall-store bosses lecturing well-rehearsed ted-talks on the merits of hard work and thats-whats-wrong-with-your-generation speeches, but aside from all of those sounds, let’s just ponder for a moment.
What if work actually did feel adventurous?
I think, if you look around at the people you admire in your field*, the ones who make it look effortless, I think you will find one thing they have in common is, almost a sense of wonder that they get to do what they do and, perhaps, a sense of awe as if the things that seem to just “go right” for them, they never would have expected.
*Side note: If you don’t see anyone in your field you admire, that might be your sign ?
Now Is the Best Time to Have an Adventure
The world is freaking out right now, and, well, they should be. There are some seismic shifts happening in the world today.
But you don’t have to freak out and wring your hands
Let me show you why:
As I write this, the world is trying to re-awaken economically from the COVID—19 pandemic. We still don’t know what will happen and, in the United States, with official unemployment numbers topping 14% (as of May 8, 2020), people estimating the real number is much higher and could climb as high as 25% before this is said and done, there is a lot to be mindful about. The first part of that is it means we are undergoing a once-a-century forced reset of how our economy works at all.
During this unprecedented time when, in the US, many people are earning more on unemployment than they were at work, what this strange, strange time in history may become is the perfect seed ground for whatever it is that you want to do next.
Many of the great companies of our time have come about during times of economic downturns. Facebook, Microsoft, Disney, Trader Joe’s… its a long list. And, look, you don’t have to be the next Warren Buffett to see an opportunity to work on something you feel passionate about and, since some of the people you trust to work with you are also out of work, why not!?
Passion Doesn’t Mean Travel OR Entrepreneurship. It Means Being On Purpose
Don’t get me wrong, there’s something deceptively alluring to packing your bags and moving to Taiwan for a year and hoping everything works out financially, but you don’t have to start a company or go traveling the world to match your work with your passions.
If you can choose, purposefully, the things you will do and will not do in your life from this day forward, you will have a singular advantage over every other person working for a buck in the world who does whatever they’re told, won’t say no, then complains to everyone about how their life feels soul-sucking and useless.
Your advantage? You will be doing things on purpose.
But—that doesn’t mean glamorous, either.
But it does mean actively choosing.
I know plenty of people who purposefully do very difficult things today so they don’t have to do those things forever.
I also know several who gladly give up certain perks and benefits of a cushy white collar lifestyle so they can have other things more important to them, like family time or being able to volunteer when and where they want.
So… What Do You Love?
For me, this question surfaced recently in a raw and powerful way. I made the choice in 2005 to fully dive into recruiting as a way of life and I have not looked back.
Now, 15 years and recruiting for fantastic companies and meeting thousands of incredible humans later, I find myself asking what is next? The next job req? The next placement? Those things still bring passion and fire in my belly, but I find myself scratching at something more… something just beyond that which I still have not quite uncovered but it has me, and this is critical—
It has me CURIOUS.
- I realized a year ago that I want to be truly helpful to the world and one way I can do that is to help 1 Million People get Better Jobs in 5 Years. I am 9 months in and have not scratched that, it seems. But each Resume Review I do and each webinar or newsletter I send out seems to do a little more, and I expect the results to be compounding.
- I realized that I have mastered a series of recruiting behaviors in my career that can both help anyone become a master recruiter and can help any recruiting team do their best at keeping hiring more human, solving the problems of bias in their workplaces, being more inclusive, and welcoming.
- Finally, I realized that my true passions lie around recruitment automation and helping companies minimize the processes that computers can do and instead maximize the things humans are best at doing.
All of these things do not take me away from recruiting, and I will never stop having candidate conversations as often as I can to fill those interesting roles, but I do think I can have even more excitement in my work as I follow these paths to more adventurous outcomes than simply keyword searching for candidates and repetitively busting out linkedin messages will get me.
These are the things I love… now your turn
Perhaps you need to take a walk or a hike, sit on a mountain or in a quiet room and think about the things you want and the things you love.
How can you marry those things with the things you do?
When you step back, what is it about the things you get very excited about which you can replicate? Is it process management? The chance to be creative? Closing a deal? Seeing the balance sheet work out perfectly? Consider these signals and follow them closely.
Follow my lead and work to proactively choose to say YES to the things on your list of things you love and NO to the things you don’t.
Write down your things. Each time you feel you are forced to sacrifice one of your long-term loves because of a short-term necessity, write it don on a sheet you can recall. Go back in a month, three months or six months. Have things changed? Ask for them to change again and see what happens.
If you consciously push on these boundaries of things you’re asked to do versus things you love doing, and do this for five years straight, you will be living a MUCH DIFFERENT LIFE than you are now.
Which is good, since the world has changed, too.
Written by Robert Merrill 5/18/2020 from near Salt Lake City, Utah