No matter what you choose to do as a career, you’ll have to jump over obstacles and go through stresses along the way, some experiences so difficult that you’ll wonder why you ever thought about following that dream of yours. But when you’re doing what you love it won’t even feel like work. You’ll go above and beyond the call of duty to get things done, put in more time without it feeling like a chore, be better at your job and most of all, you’ll be happy rather than spinning around in a cycle of misery.
When I grow up
6-years old, dreaming about when you’re a grown up you want to be an astronaut, a pilot, a fireman or a princess perhaps. Such imaginative beings, weren’t we?
Playing, ‘what do you want to be when you’re a grown-up?’ was always fun. Forget logistics, those days as young’uns we had a free way of thinking – no boundaries. We had far-flung hopes and dreamed improbable dreams - Some people see the improbable to be the impossible, but what if we actually took these hopes and dreams and made them come true?
That’s a big debate of today. When we grow older we’re torn between academia and this so-called “dream” of ours. We’re always encouraged to go for the career that will give us the most money (we need money of course to survive) and we’re bought up to believe that life isn’t always about doing what you want; it’s about making yourself useful. While some people do choose to follow the paper trail, they might actually be going down a road that isn’t right for them, that doesn’t make them happy and will lead them to a life of dissatisfaction.
Looking at statistics
Let’s look at some facts; we spend most of our day at work. In fact, in one year we spend approximately 3000 hours working! The Trade Unions Congress (TUC) says, within the UK we work the longest hours within Europe, take shorter lunch breaks and don’t enjoy public holidays as much. Working hard ensures that we pay our mortgage, bills and are able to provide our families and ourselves with the most basic necessities like food. But what if we’re doing something that takes up all our time and that we don’t enjoy?
Working for money seems like a good enough motivator for you to stick at that career, but if everyday you’re at a constant battle to get out of bed, counting down the hours and minutes until your day is over and bringing home all that angst from work then that’s a pretty big problem. Life is incredibly short to be time wasting, yes, we all need a paycheck at the end of the month, yes, we all like to buy shiny things, but some things are just more important, like experiences, and time is our most valuable asset.
If you’ve always wanted to join the corporate club with reckless hours, tight deadlines, non-stop e-mails and perhaps some arguments with your boss, then good for you – but if not then it’s time for a change! You could spend 10 years making it up that corporate ladder, or you could spend the same amount of time creating a life that could change the course of history for the better. I like the second option.
Imperative and The Purpose Economy
Imperative is a career platform that connects people to purpose. They feel that everybody should have the opportunity to create meaningful work and that this vital for us, and the future of humanity. They believe that purpose can be found in every job and it’s just about how we work and engage with people on a daily basis.
Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and the author of The Purpose Economy believes that the information economy has driven innovation and economic growth until now, “it’s based on the creation, manipulation and dissemination of information. It is driven by scale, data and efficiency.” But now, we’re on our way to our fourth economy, one that is driven by purpose. It’s about enhancing relationships, doing something greater than yourself and it’s about experiences more than consumption - that’s what young people are doing these days, building a bank of experiences rather than buying things that will make them happy only temporarily. And with the millennials becoming the majority of the workforce, purpose is the primary driver of economic output.
“Follow your bliss” – Joseph Campbell
Following the dream
While we all have to be self-sufficient and may have to work for some time in a job that we don’t particularly like, there’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to do something you hate for the rest of your life. Passion is the fuel that propels you to travel in the direction that you want to go. It gives you meaning in life. Ultimately, your career defines who you are as an individual. When you meet somebody for the first time, how do you introduce yourself? Usually with your name and what you do – it’s because we spend so much time doing it.
Going to university and going through a plethora of exams and assignments can be the stepping stone that gets you that moneymaking job, or it’s the path you go down that will eventually lead you to your dream job. A lot of people will tell us that dreams are one of the most unattainable parts of our lives, but once we achieve it, it will give us personal satisfaction and the mindset that we are able to accomplish anything in the world.
It’s much better to be really really really good at what you do and as a result make a lot of money. Throw your whole heart into doing something you enjoy and get better and better at it and surprise surprise, you’re successful, and work won’t even feel like a burden. Whether you choose to follow the paper trail or follow your dream career, make sure you’re not mindlessly wasting your life away in unhappiness – you only have one life, do what you love and live it with experiences! As Steve Jobs says, “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 – don’t settle.”
“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts”- Albert Einstein
A grown-up’s opinion: What did you want to grow up to be when you were younger?
Below are comments from some of you who are living the dream.
I’ve always loved art and design and it seemed like the natural path to follow when I went to Uni. It was hard once I graduated as jobs were scarce but I was hopeful. I’m glad I persevered because I am now working as a graphic designer at an awesome company and it’s the best place to be. And it’s mainly because I’m doing what I love!
I remember being four years old and writing a story about a group of friends exploring caves and fighting dragons. Well, I dictated it to grandma actually, but the content (lack of narrative structure, poorly developed plot, randomly killed-off characters) was all mine. Although I’ve yet to fight a single dragon, I do spend my days writing about exciting places (sometimes caves!) for the adventure travel website, embark.org. I would say that the dream has translated well to adulthood!
Derek, Syracuse, New York, USA
At school I wanted to be a graphic designer. I tailored my GCSEs and A-Levels for a career in art. When I went to college I realised it wasn’t for me. Fast-forward ten years - now I’m studying for my doctorate in linguistics. If anyone had told me at school I’d be doing this with my life back then, I’d have laughed!
Emma, Exeter, England
When I was younger I knew I wanted to help women, be their advocate and help empower them. So here I am nine years qualified, working as a labour ward midwife at one of London’s best maternity units! I can’t say I make the same money as a premier league footballer or an MP. And I’m not going to lie, I’m always hoping for an extra zero at the end of my pay slip, but I wouldn’t change that for how amazing my job is and how happy I am!
From the age of seven, I always dreamed of getting up on stage and playing guitar with a band before big audiences. At the age of 13, I realized that dream when I played in front of a crowd of 10,000 people and I’ve been playing with a band ever since!
Andy, Bangalore, India
I just recently discovered what I wanted to do, everything before was kind of a blur. My discovery came from personal circumstances that, sadly, opened a path up for me in life. Unsure whether not that’s a good or bad, as William Wordsworth says, ‘find strength in what remains.’ I am currently getting my Masters of Social Work and hope to study neuroscience one day.
Linh, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Imperative: Work with Purpose www.imperative.com
A Movement to Evolve the Economy www.purposeeconomy.com