Getting a Masters Degree in Philosophy was not done with strong career prep in mind. Following that, I’ve been a personal trainer, meditation instructor, and writer for the past 30 years. I haven’t had a “real job” for quite some time. Not that I haven’t felt the need. Since I got out of school many decades ago, I’ve always felt that somehow what I was doing was not a “real way to make a living,” like I was somehow avoiding the inevitable. How long could I keep up this charade?
At one point, I did give in to that nagging thought and get a “real job” for a while. I was a sales manager for a music distribution company. I still kept doing my training and writing on the side. But, after two years, I developed a medically-unexplainable searing pain between my shoulder blades—so much so that I couldn’t even sit up to do my sales manager work. After seven weeks of that pain, I got a clear message that I had to go back to my passion—what I love to do. When I did, the pain went away. Interestingly, I still have weakness in that spot, maybe as a reminder to keep me on track.
So, what’s the point of that anecdote?
Many of us have a strongly ingrained idea that we’re supposed to get a real job. What we love to do is fine for a hobby, but not really worthy of income. I have a cousin who even told me he was glad to see that I was finally getting a “real job” when I took that position at the music distribution company. Curiously, I made the least amount of money in my career and had more stress than ever when I took that “real job.”
In this “down” economy there are many who are out of work or struggling to make enough in jobs they have. If you are one of those, could this be a moment when you take that risk and do what you love to do? Could this moment be your great opportunity? What you love to do could be a “real job” or it might be something that you create from your interests. When I began doing personal training 30 years ago the profession didn’t even exist. When I began doing online publishing 6 or 7 years ago, it was barely a recognizable thing to do.
What do you love to do? What do you believe in? What do you want to see more of in the world? What needs do people have that you can fulfill through what you love to do?
Answering those questions could open the door to a whole new way of living and working for you. I, for one, couldn’t live any other way.