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Do what you love is the advice I got from many people when I asked them for tips on how to be successful.
“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”— MARC ANTHONY
When I first started out my career, I took a job in a call center not because I loved the job, but I loved the idea of a salary (money) and the freedom that comes with it.
So technically, I was doing what I love but may be not in it’s truest sense.
Recently, one of my answers got lot of upvotes on Quora.
Many young graduates have been pinging me and asking me advice on how they should proceed with their careers and they are interested in entrepreneurship and they want to work for themselves etc.
I feel I’m not qualified to give generalized advice because everyone is running their own marathon and one piece of advice never fits an entire group.
That being said, as I have worked in different companies for over 11 years and tried numerous online businesses and failed at a lot of them, I think I can give some advice based on my own experiences.
When I was in school, I was asked many times “What do you want to become when you grow up?”
Kids in front rows usually say doctors, some say IAS (administrative services), engineers, scientists and so on.
When my turn came, I told my teacher I wanted to be a Taxi Driver.
Everyone laughed and the question moved on.
Why did I answer that I wanted to be a Taxi Driver? Because I had a love for cars back then (I still do, read the Quora story of my first car here) and I thought driving people across the country and getting paid for it would be the ultimate job.
As I grew up, I understood that most taxi drivers are poorly paid, they usually sleep in their cars and they hardly have any money to afford a house or sometimes even send to their families.
So my love changed.
Instead of doing the thing I loved, my mindset changed to doing something else so that I can have at least the basic necessities of life met.
For the next 11 years, I worked in various capacities such as a call center employee (got fired from that), a content writer, a content editor, a marketing communications specialist, a digital marketing associate, a digital marketing manager and finally head of digital marketing for a fairly large company.
This is when I quit my job and decided I should try working for myself for sometime.
Last week when a student messaged me that he wanted to be an entrepreneur and he needed some guidance on how to get started- it made me think what kind of advice can I give this young man.
I could have sent him a generic advice saying, “do the thing you love” but then what’s the difference between school teachers who never try to understand creative inclinations of children and rank everyone on the same scale?
The only advice I can think of is do whatever you love, but don’t be afraid to change your love.
When I passed out from my college studying aircraft maintenance engineering, it was 2008 and the peak of recession.
I tried finding a relevant job for a year but then I figured out I needed money and waiting for the airline industry to recover was stupid.
So I took the job in a call center and then moved along.
I had a friend who was very adamant that he will work only in an airline and that no matter what happens he will not sacrifice his passion for airplanes and his career.
I told him, you can get back to the airline industry once you have your basic financials sorted out. But he said, no I will do this and this alone.
He applied for jobs, did interning for almost 5 years and then joined a furniture store as a salesman.
Now he is in Dubai, married and working in a warehouse.
This story is just to show you what happens when you take “do what you love” advice too seriously.
This is true for relationships also.
I have seen couples staying in a relationship even when there is no more love, respect or any sort of feelings.
Just because they have been together for years, they continue the status quo because it’s the easier thing to do and the thought of a change makes them uncomfortable.
The world that we live in is flawed in many ways.
While “do what you love” is a great generic advice and looks great as a quote, for someone from a middle-class background, it might not be the best advice.
Most of the time “do what you love” advice makes no sense because most people don’t even know what they love to do.
If you are one of them, try this.
Take a sheet of paper and write down the things you are truly passionate about.
Next, think of ways you can do these stuff and make some money (selling products or services or even freelance work).
If you cannot think of any way to make money from your passion right now, park it aside and move to your next strong interest.
If you do not have any interest you think can be a good paying career, create a generic resume and apply for whatever jobs are available and take the first one you get.
I liked airplanes but when I didn’t get a job in that industry I took the next best thing available.
When I was working in the call center, I would constantly be looking at the wall clock to check if I have completed my 9 hours.
At the stroke of 6 PM, I would have all my stuff packed and ready to take off.
The only thought that kept me at that job was the money they would pay me at the end of the month.
When I got fired from the call center, I took a job that I did not mind doing–which is writing.
So for all young graduates who want to get into entrepreneurship and business and everything else, my two cents of advice is to do the things you love but be open to change your love.
There are many businesses that require zero investment. You can consider starting a blog, a YouTube channel or even digital marketing services. Be warned most of these businesses will sometimes take a couple of years to make any kind of money.
If you want to start an online business and make some side income, I will be more than happy to help, write to me using the form below, I can guide you.