“So you basically are just yourself for much of your work day?” an old friend said. He’s known me since I was a teen. While there are many friendship gifts he gives to me, the nature of our relationship has often involved my giving him advice. When I was not a career counselor, I still read and thought a great deal about careers and life. And, I suppose I honed my craft by giving informal career advice to many friends and acquaintances. My work has essentially become an extension of who I am.
Creators of any sort understand exactly what I’m suggesting: if you are a musician, a craftsman, a writer and whole host of other professions where the dominant activity involves expressing yourself then your work is part of you.
Those involved in meaningful work often feel the same way. The most obvious are clerics. Pastors, priests, monks, and nuns live their lives in such a way that their work is intertwined with just being who they are. Is the meditating monk working?
But such work does not need to be service oriented or even in traditional helping professions.
Those who own their own businesses – if the business is connected to who they are – also feel the same way. A long time ago, I trained a fledgling entrepreneur to build a business around his passion for fishing. I know nothing about fishing but I do know how to build small local businesses. I bumped into him a few years ago and asked him about work. “I don’t work any more.” He smiled. “I just live and happen to earn money through my fishing business.” He crafted his life around his passion and hobby. He’s not making six figures but he pays his bills and goes to work happy.
Through the years, we have helped hundreds of career seekers switch to work that no longer was work.