Do What You love…???

Look for something you love doing, and then it won’t feel like work.

That’s how the saying goes, right?

And yes, I am a firm believer that wherever possible we should be working in a field of expertise we are passionate about. But sometimes, life doesn’t work that way.

I was working at a job fair many moons ago, there was a lady standing outside one of the stalls. She had the most magnetic charm, the biggest smile, and people were drawn to her. She was representing her employer, a residential and commercial cleaning group that was gaining a big presence in the area.

I listened in as she was speaking to a young man doing the rounds, collecting business cards, free pens, free credit card-sized mint packets (never quite got that marketing concept. Who actually ever put them in their wallets or purses?) and all the other marketing flotsam around the edges of the stalls at recruitment fairs.

“What does your company do then?” he said

“We are cleaning our way to people’s hearts,” said the lady with her big smile still intact.

After a few pleasantries and more details about what a typical day might look like, the job seeker said “I don’t think I could clean toilets every day”.

He picked up their brochure though ‘just in case’, and headed off toward the opposite stall.

As the day passed, and the last seekers made their way home, June (I felt like I knew her after hearing her introduce herself so many times!) and I struck up a conversation. I’d been so impressed with her passion and enthusiasm for her company who obviously took care of their employees well.

We talked about our backgrounds, my first job after University was as a bra-fitter in a department store. Not the glamourous high-salary job many graduates see themselves in, but it had taught me many lessons in life. More on that another time. Back to June, who had been to college and had got a job afterward, selling advertising in her local paper.

After a few years of working in a pretty unforgiving sales role, June decided to move on but continued employment in sales jobs. It’s what she knew, so she kept being sucked back into them until one day she woke up feeling physically sick at the prospect of going into work. She knew she had to change her career or it would end up taking its toll on her.

It was a chance meeting with another ‘Commercial Hygenist’ when June was working late that changed her direction. She was loading up her bag with work she still had to complete at home and had heard the hum of the vacuum down the hall along with a ‘voice like an angel’. June slung her bag over her shoulder and made her way to the juxtaposing sounds. A lady was carefully moving the chairs to get to the crumbs left from another ‘lunch at the desk’.

“Hi” June said, but the lady didn’t hear.

“HI” she said a little louder, and the lady jumped and switched off the vacuum. She was wearing a black and red over-apron which looked the same as you see on flight attendants when they are serving your in-flight food. But it had a certain flair, it actually looked pretty awesome.

“I wanted to say what a beautiful voice you have”

They stopped and chatted for a moment before June made her way home to work.

The next couple of weeks went by and June saw Penny a few more times, always smiling, always singing.

One night after a particularly rough day, Penny came by June’s desk with a leaflet.

“My company is recruiting. I know you said you were tired of working all day and night so I thought of you” she said waving it like a fan in June’s face. “I work nights but only because I choose to – you get to pick your hours…and you don’t have to take your work home!”

At first, June was ashamed to admit she felt a little disgruntled. That a cleaning job was below her.

She stuffed the flyer into her pocket and thanked Penny who waved her hand as she moved onto the next office.

It’s funny how we think about other professions. We have so many misconceptions. Real Estate Agents, Recruiters, Cab Drivers, Cleaners…often the persona of certain job types are derived from a minority but because they are the loudest, they are the ones who stand out. Don’t forget about the others who are making waves in these professions in their own sweet style.

That weekend as June was loading her washing and checking the pockets to save on post-wash fluff despair. She pulled out the recruitment flyer. She looked at it for a moment and smiled at the quirky marketing of it.

Cleaning our way to peoples hearts

It took another few weeks of waking up with dread in the pit of her stomach before June had decided to make a call to them, but it had started the most interesting journey she had been on. Soon after she quit sales and began her role as a Commercial Hygeneist, working the hours she chose.

“Did you not miss the commission?” I’d asked

“Actually, the commission was pretty low. My salary now is higher than my base in sales” she said, “but now, I work the hours I want and I’ve actually got the brain space to figure out some new opportunities I want to pursue in the future”

“So, this isn’t the end of the road career-wise for June?”

“Actually no, I am working on a management diploma through this company with a view to scaling my career here. They actually don’t require me to do it to be considered but they supported my desire to learn more.”

June smiled her biggest smile yet.

“Making a change was scary, I had to step back to move forward again. I made a few financial sacrifices but when I actually looked at the hours I was putting in overall then worked out my REAL hourly rate, it was negligible. What this opportunity afforded me was my soul back. The regaining of me and the space to consider what I really wanted.”

“So you love what you do?”

“I won’t lie and say it’s my dream job,” June said with a half snort, “the man earlier was right, cleaning toilets can be a big reality check, BUT it’s not the actual job duties I love, it’s the fact that it offers me the freedom to live my life outside of work how I choose to, for now. If I decide to make a change again in the future, I won’t be as scared to do so. When I was in sales, I didn’t have time or space in my head to even contemplate who I was and what I wanted. For some, that’s how they choose to be and if it works for them that’s great. But for me, I knew I needed to change to allow me to grow.”

As I packed my stall away for another fair, another place, another day, I couldn’t help but rerun June’s story in my mind.

If there was a moral to this story it would be to look for something that allows you to be who you love outside of work. If it happens to be that you love your work too that’s awesome but the two don’t always have to be unified.

You can love your work for the opportunity it affords you in life, as long as it doesn’t drain your soul at the same time.


PS – Remember to head to my free resources if you feel like making a change in your life or career https://brandyouday.com/courses/#courses-resources-section