If I hear the words, “passion”, “purpose”, or “calling”, one more time I might puke all over this keyboard. Like projectile vomit. If you’ve ever had to search for a job, change a career, go to school, you know these words well. And I call bullshit on them. Is it so heinous to believe that some of us may not have a purpose that’s tied to a career? A lot of us believe that God is managing an assembly line of souls and bestowing a purpose on each of us with his almighty magic wand. Let’s see now…Michael you’re going to be a phenomenal singer and dancer *bloop*. Stephen you’re going to be a physicist *bloop*, Maya you’re going to be an iconic poet *bloop*, Ted…well Ted…let’s see, how do I say this? You’re going to be a…well it’s not really a profession per se. Um, well son, you’re going to be cog in a corporate wheel. Sorry. Most likely your life’s purpose or your destiny isn’t floating around in the ether (along with unclaimed soulmates) waiting for you to snatch it up like a lightning bug. While society will cram your head with successful people who’ve found their calling, and hold you to those same expectations, most of us have to find purpose in something that isn’t going to make us any money or provide us any fame.
You may be waiting to hear the sound of bullets loading into a revolver, but that’s not what’s happening here. This mindset should come as a relief. No longer do you have to stay on a never-ending holy grail or fountain of youth-like quest for a job that you’re passionate about. What if you decide to flush that idea down the toilet and say to yourself, “You know what, I’m going to find purpose and passion in something outside of my job. I may not even go looking for it. Shit, I may already be doing it.” Would that be so bad?
Why do we tie our self worth and our identity so tightly to our careers? The idea of finding passion and purpose in our jobs has been shoved down our throats since elementary school. Remember career day? John’s dad is a police officer. He keeps everyone safe. Cindy’s mom is a nurse. She helps sick people. We’re wired to think that everyone must be a contributing member of society and you better be super psyched about the role you’re given. When you start thinking about a “calling” 1) It better be respectable. 2) There better be a track record of people making good money while doing it. 3) You should probably try to make a difference in people’s lives 4) Oh, and if it’s interesting and exciting that’d be great too (this is a modern one, I think). Jesus, it’s no wonder why a bunch of us are depressed, anxious, unfulfilled shells of humans. Basically society tells us that if you can’t find a job that you’re proud of, that makes a difference, and makes you money while doing it, then you’re a worthless piece of unambitious doo doo.
If you find meaning in the work you do that’s great! The world needs people like you. Additionally you may find a career with purpose and fulfillment later in life, and that’s great too. However, if you’re not one of these people, then don’t let this silly American ideal of having a job that fulfills you, ruin your life (or even your day). No matter what job you have, don’t let those 8-10 hours dictate how you feel about yourself. It’s. Not. Worth. It.
If you feel like you’re never going to find a career that is meaningful and makes you want to spring out of bed every morning, stop worrying so much and stop giving so many fucks. I’m not writing this to say give your middle finger to the man, quit your job, and begin your lifelong passion of breeding llamas. No. Sometimes we have to have jobs that we don’t like for serious reasons like affording rent, childcare, health insurance, etc. That’s honorable in itself. Find purpose and passion elsewhere because, in my non-expert opinion, only a small percentage of us find it in our jobs. You can find purpose in just about anything: coming home everyday and drawing comics, playing with your kids, gardening, taking your dog for a walk, holding the door for someone, not being a dick (this one is a biggie (no pun intended) and it’s in demand. Hell, if you’re not an asshole, you’re a huge success in my book), taking time to raise your kids so that they don’t turn out to be dicks when they grow up (another important one), taking care of a sick relative, painting, writing, making dinner for your family, making someone smile, reading, learning another language, etc.
Basically you can find your purpose in anything. Who are we to say we fully understand what our purpose is? Kind of arrogant of us, right? It’s possible that our true purpose is beyond our understanding. So in the end, relax, try not to be a dick to other people, and enjoy the ride as much as you can while hanging onto the boat during the storms.
Btw, some physicists believe there’s a 50% chance we’re all a simulation. If that’s not a great reason for you to stop worrying about finding a profession with purpose, then I don’t know what is.