The future of work is...to find a job you love

Thursday, March 16, 2017

“Do a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” ….is a quote many of us hear. However what it really means is you will work hard but, more than likely, you will really enjoy what you do.

People who like what they do have a hugely unfair advantage over others who just see the job as a means to pay bills and survive. People who like what they do research it in their spare time, and are willing to put in extra hours, so doing a job you love means it rarely feels like work in the pejorative sense of the word. However, you do put in lots of effort.

Upskill to stay ahead

With robots and machines coming for our jobs, and our careers under threat from globalisation and protectionism, we need to continually upskill. There is now more chance than ever that jobs will be disrupted or replaced, so the goal for every one of us is to ensure we continue to learn. As technology speeds up the rate of change around us, at a minimum we need to protect our future career by learning. But we may also want to really try to find that job of passion, that job of our dreams.

Work to find the work you love

For those who want to work at their passion, it is a real project to try and find that job we love. To do so can be an arduous journey involving sacrifice and change but ultimately, it’s incredibly rewarding. There are a number of great books on this subject and if I were to highlight three, they would be: The Work We Were Born to Do – Nick Williams; The Four-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris; and Working Identity – Herminia Ibarra. If you prefer videos to books, the late Scott Dinsmore has an excellent video on this topic.  

However the best advice I have heard is from an article in Forbes by Steven Kotler. He talks about a process on how to find your passion. He highlights that passion exists at the intersection of multiple things you are curious about. So make a list of these curiosities and then start to see where a number of them intersect and there, he says, is the passion sweet spot. Once you have identified what this is, you need to turn this into purpose by highlighting 10 challenges that you would like to solve with your new found passion. You have now built a sense of meaning and significance to what you do. This can take a long time to get to and is not a short-term project.

So what next?

In the short term, there are three simple things you can do to protect your job into the future:

  • Understand how your role helps in the overall objective of the organisation
  • Upskill every year and continue to add to your skills armoury
  • Ensure work challenges you  – remember how much you learned in the first six months of the role and try to continue to mimic this by working on  activities that are a stretch to you

We will all be working longer than we think – we should try and enjoy it along the way, as these are most of the best years of our life….

 

Peter Cosgrove set up the Future of Work Institute in Ireland and has written many research papers which you can find here:  https://www.cpl.ie/For-Employers/Future-of-Work-Institute/Research-Whitepapers