Finding joy in loving what you do

A few weeks ago, I texted a friend and announced that I had crossed my 5 year mark with my current employer this month. In spite of the challenges and frustrations I was facing at work, I told her that it was also an illuminating journey as I finally realised a very important truth.

As much as we all want to land a job where we can do what we love and are fervently passionate about, you can love what you do.

 

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. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.- Steve Jobs

 

I believe that when we started our careers, we all had great ambitions to do what we love. After all, if you’re going to be spending most of your waking hours working, you might as well follow your heart and do what you enjoy.

However in my case, I was still unsure of what my life calling was when I graduated and I have a feeling I’m far from being alone. My first job was a marketing role in a bank where I had my first foray in insurance and investments as I picked up the marketing ropes. It wasn’t all exciting or interesting work, in fact, some bits were dreary, repetitive and even mundane but it was all necessary for me to fully appreciate what I did.

And now after working more than 15 years, I’ve learnt that the happiest people are those who love what they do.

Loving what you do

The notion of loving what you do may sound ludicrous to some and I’m not just singling out the millennials, who are often stereotyped as being idealistic. I know of people in their 40s who are still wishing and hoping that they can pursuing their dreams and be lead by their passion.

And that’s really the best case scenario isn’t it? But often, such stories don’t come by easily and the majority of us work because that’s what being a responsible adult means and because we acknowledge that no one owes us a living except ourselves.

In Steve Job’s famous quote at the Stanford commencement address, he said that you need to love what you’re doing. And that means falling in love with what you do. Because when that happens, passion will follow and great work will happen. And I say this, because I know it to be true.

 

A mindset shift

For me, 2016 was a turning point in my career because I saw how I can be the change that I desired in the workplace.

In the first quarter of the year, I was immersed in a huge marketing campaign and it was one of the most invigorating and refreshing campaigns I’ve worked on. Not only were our KPIs met on many fronts, it changed the conversations that people had towards savings and investing and put us in a new space. And what started as a campaign where we sought  to challenge people’s mindset, ended up creating a paradigm shift in my own mindset towards work.

With that campaign, I witnessed how having an excellent spirit at work can be influential and I saw work as a craft that must be honed and perfected if we want to take it to a higher level. I saw how remarkable work is never an individual effort and it can only happen when we establish a collaborative, we rather than me, culture.

It was energising to bounce off ideas with fellow colleagues as we huddled together to ask questions on how we can make things better for our customers. And while big changes don’t happen easily, all it takes is that slight shift in our sails that can set us on a different course to take us nearer to where we envision ourselves to be than when we first started.

Were there no setbacks and challenges along the way? You bet and it can be SBS (Si Bei Sian) when decisions that don’t make sense happen. But having positivity as a strength means these hindrances are never a showstopper.

So yes, while work is just work, it can be worth pouring your heart into.

It’s one lesson that I’m inspired to teach my daughter and I hope her visits to my workplace has shown her that work can be fun, interesting and even energizing  when we can love what we do.

 

 

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Comments: 12

  1. Madeline Heng February 28, 2017 at 9:19 am Reply

    So true! Sometimes pursuing passion is simply not practical in tiny Singapore!

    • Susan February 28, 2017 at 11:06 pm Reply

      I think that mindset is changing these days with more and more “success” stories from those who got to do what they love. Plus not all passion are viewed as being impractical these days and some may pursue them as a sideline to their day jobs.

  2. Lyn Lee February 28, 2017 at 10:02 am Reply

    Great post! I feel very much the same. My friends used to think I’m siao for quite sincerely loving my job most of these 15 years, but I think I’ve grown and learnt a lot through doing what I do at work, and this also helps in the way I relate to my kids, and my perspective on the way I bring them up.

    • Susan February 28, 2017 at 11:13 pm Reply

      In a way, I also hope to break stereotypes of what people assume about working mums with my post. That just because we have our families, it doesn’t mean we are not as dedicated or committed as our colleagues who are single or don’t have kids. We all go through seasons in our lives and the demands of motherhood is also different at different seasons.
      Great to hear that you’re loving your job and the growth you’ve experienced over these years through your work. Cant wait to hear and learn more about your experiences and how they’ve shaped your parenting views.

  3. Ai Sakura February 28, 2017 at 11:21 am Reply

    Happy that you’re enjoying more and more what you do at work.. can’t believe it’s been 5 years for you already!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    • Susan February 28, 2017 at 11:16 pm Reply

      Yes, time flies and can’t believe it’s been a good 5 years.

  4. David Sim March 6, 2017 at 4:59 pm Reply

    I totally resonate with you on this – Since we are going to be working practically all our lives, its important to find joy in what we do and I believe we can only find it if we find significance and meaning in what we do. For me,its impacting and changing young lives. So when challenges come (and they will) it is the significance that propel one’s passion. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Shub March 6, 2017 at 9:11 pm Reply

    Congrats for 5-years milestone. I agree that if you love what you are doing and bring value-additions to work, time really flies.

  6. Phoebe March 7, 2017 at 7:13 am Reply

    Ita great happiness to be able to be in a job you love and find passion in. I also hope to continue commit in my work. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Jacqualine March 9, 2017 at 10:09 am Reply

    Loving what you do – this is so important! Unfortunately, not many of us know what we *exactly* love doing. I guess as we grow older, time gives us the opportunity to understand and realise things that it was difficult to grasp?

    Hehe. In any case, happy 5th year to you! Can get long service award already? :p

    • Susan March 9, 2017 at 10:35 pm Reply

      I agree and I sort of went a full circle and went back to doing marketing too. It’s all part of discovering ourselves, our strengths, our passions and our giftings 🙂
      5th year not considered long service yet.

  8. Resume Writer Singapore June 29, 2017 at 4:16 pm Reply

    Truly inspiring. It is important to start first appreciating your job even if it is not what you really like from the start. A dose of daily positivity can really affect your mindset which will make you love what you do eventually. I think companies should invest on programs on how employees can really be engaged in their work by starting with the positive mindset and feeling. It can turn around someone’s perspective of a job they take for granted.

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