My Career Advice

Picture of a deerIf you listen to very accomplished people they often tell you to follow your passion.  Passion they insist is the secret to success.  Find your passion and then keep driving towards it, never give up.

Sorry, but this advise has never worked for me, life is too unpredictable and our passions to fickle, at least for me. Lets look at a few examples from my own life:

  • When I was 14 I loved working on cars, my passion was cars, I wanted to be a mechanic.  By 18 I had no interest in cars, I loved cycling instead and I wanted to be a Mechanical Engineer
  • When I was 22 I loved engineering, I wanted to work at the cutting edge of Mechanical Engineering and I got a job as an Airframe Systems Engineer.  Unfortunately being an Airframe Systems Engineer was stunningly boring and the engineers around me told me that I would have to do this kind of work for many years before it got remotely interesting.  A guaranteed passion killer for the 22 year old me.
  • When I was 24 I got a job in software programming, I worked hard, very hard, and enjoyed it a lot.  I was never a great programmer, but I liked working hard, improving my skills and making an impact.
  • When I was 38 I was a managing consultant, still working in IT, I was still working hard, enjoying it a lot and thinking I had really found my passion, oops I got an auto-immune disorder that forced me to scrap that idea
  • So from 38 onwards I could no longer work hard and had no real idea what my passion was so I had to rethink, maybe I should work hard at living well and getting better.  That’s kept me busy for the last 12 years

The underlying theme of my life is that whilst my passions come and go, I’m always happiest when I’m working hard at something and making progress.  I think if I’d stuck with it when I was an Airframe Systems Engineer and worked hard then it would have quickly become a lot less boring.

Final thoughts, as well as working hard, it’s important to pay attention (mindfulness).  Even boring activities suddenly become interesting when you really pay attention to the fine details of the task and make progress.  This is true whether the task is doing the washing up, weeding the garden, reading a book, designing a new smartphone or painting the house.

The picture is of a Deer that I was amazed to see in a field in Arnside, one of my favourite places.  It’s perfect reflection of my current passion, the outdoors, I think this one will endure!

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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