SATURDAY, 13 OCTOBER 2012
When someone asks my advice on career, work or ways to make money – or when I give it on my own accord, I always base my opinion on a certain model that I have in my head. This model says: don’t put too much weight on what will give you higher status in the community; think twice before you insist on trying to make money with something you’re passionate about – there’s not necessarily a market for it, and even if there is, you might find after a few years of commercial activity that you’re not that passionate about it anymore; do not commit yourself to a career or a commercial activity where you will do the same thing over and over and over again, Monday to Friday, until someone finally taps you on the shoulder and says, “Stop! You’re 65. Retire, for crying out loud!”
I believe this model makes sense, and have thought so for a long time. I can therefore never understand when someone hears my well-meaning advice, and then do the exact opposite.
But there’s something I tend to forget.
In many cases, people get something back when they follow their own instinct and consider status in the community, when they go for something they have always had a passion for, and when they choose a profession or business where they will do the same thing over and over, ad nauseam. They establish a regular stream of income that puts food on the table and pays the rent. They develop a relationship with other people in the community. They become part of something. They will tell me: “You know what? It’s true that sometimes the work is boring, but we like what we get back at the end of the day and at the end of the month. What we get for our labour, not only money but also the connection and sometimes friendship with people we work with, make up for the things we don’t like. We simply endure the less pleasant aspects of our labour.”
My model works for the individual who wants to be left alone, for the person who doesn’t want to compromise his passion with commercial packaging, and who definitely does not want to do the same boring job every day, over and over until he goes out of his mind. My model works for the person who is not concerned on a daily basis with keeping a family alive, who doesn’t want to endure tedious and boring work.
So, am I wrong?
No. I just don’t always take into account what works for other people, what other people want, and what they’re willing to give up for what they get in return.