Finding your passion and following your heart is a good thing, right? K, so why does it suck so much? Cause it’s hard. Real hard. For anyone unfamiliar with my story, I’ve been trying to quit my job since I started it. Or maybe I haven’t been “trying”. I could get a new one if I wanted, but I don’t want a new job I want a right job. So that’s what I spend probably 80% of my work-related thoughts on. I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. Eh? Eh?
There’s a lot of info out there on finding the right job. I’ve learned that aptitude tests, while appealing, blow chunks. Don’t do them. All they’ve done is tell me that my skills align with those needed as an accountant, furthering my career blues. I guesssssssss I can’t expect too much – I should know myself better than any aptitude test. But I don’t, or not yet anyway. …Besides you’d think someone with an aptitude for creating aptitude tests could have made a better one by now amirite?
Moving past the idea of a five-minute-multiple-choice-dream-career-finder, I’ve found some pretty good articles. In my current favorite, the author encourages people to follow a more irrational, intuitive, animalistic approach. As in:
“I suspect you’ve been advised to think rationally about your career decisions. That would be a big mistake. You might expect people with damage to the emotional parts of the brain, presumably free from the distractions of emotions, to be brilliant decision makers. Quite the opposite. Though they retain full use of their rational faculties, such patients are tragically indecisive, endlessly debating logical pros and cons, unable to choose any path. Their brains send out random, contradictory, and confusing directions […] Jonathan Haidt writes in The Happiness Hypothesis, ‘it’s only because our emotional brains work so well that our reasoning can work at all.’ “
[Find Your Career Path, Martha Beck]
Dang, quotes on quotes on quotes! This part in particular resonated with me. Most of my friends and family are very rational, pragmatic people, because that’s who I’ve chosen to surround myself with. I have, in the past, had a hard time relating to people that are highly creative and artistic. When you say you’re a poet… do you mean that you’re a barista, or that you’re living off a trust fund?? However, asking rational/pragmatic people (myself included) for advice in career decisions is effectively the same as taking an aptitude test. No matter how accurate the rational/pragmatic assessment is, like with an aptitude test it doesn’t mean it’s the right assessment, or that it wil get me any closer towards finding my passion.
Another great thing about this article is she boils it down into four steps which, according to my aptitude tests, I love. So here’s the list part, the deliverable. Are you as PUMPED as I am? Good.
1. Make a list of every time you remember being utterly, happily absorbed in an activity, no matter how odd. This focused attention is the hot track you’re looking for, evidence that your animal self was here.
When I first tried this, it was hilarious. The only thing that came to mind was when I dedicated three days to going through the company’s intranet so that I could log all the broken and redundant links. I never did finish that project or d0 anything productive with my “findings”, so… Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
- Cleaning my bathroom and reorganizing my makeup once I realized how dirty it was,
- Leading conference calls,
- Getting coffee with friends,
- Learning basic HTML code,
- Laving lunch with friends at work,
- Celebrating people in the office’s birthdays,
- Reading poems and attempting to memorize them,
- Reading articles on finding your passion,
- Drafting ideas for my public accounting screenplay – which I still think is a boss idea, btw. Partners banging interns? Accountants covering up a material misstatement? Embezzlement? INTRIGUE? Why don’t accountants have a show? What’s so great about doctors and lawyers? Nothing, that’s what.
So far all I’ve gleaned from this list is that I like coffee and cake. If anyone has any greater insight, please let me know. In the meantime I’ll continue to add to it.
2. Predict the next track. …To predict the next likely step for your inner animal, scan your environment for conditions that seem likely to foster that happy state of absorption, but are just outside your regular routine. Try an activity within that sphere to see if it’s a hot track.
I do like the idea of writing about the insanity of public accounting, so I suppose this blog can serve as a surrogate until I get my screenwriting techniques down. Sorta like Going Concern but with more of a Oh-God-where-am-I-going-in-life-I’m-too-young-to-die slant. So I’m pursuing my tracks.
3. Return to the last hot track and repeat step 2. … If your trail runs cold, return to your last hot track and test a new prediction.
I especially love this step because it gives me permission to quit things. And I LOVE quitting things. Can I make a job out of quitting things?
4. Follow your tracks wherever they lead. …your animal will eventually bring you to the job you were meant to do.
So while it’s not immediately evident how tracking silly interests is going to help me find a job I’m excited about, it’s a start. Besides, my animal instincts tell me it’s a good idea.