Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 27 in "30 Days of Blogging"

Day 27: your day job versus your passion

Well almost three weeks have gone by, so I guess I have to admit that the 30 days of blogging did not in fact occur in 30 days. Ah well, I'd like to finish it anyway.

It's funny, because this topic is at the forefront of my mind most days, which you would think would make it easy to post about, when in reality it almost does the opposite. The thoughts are very fresh if you know what I mean, just coming to the surface slowly, and I'm not totally sure I'm ready for all of them to be public yet, but I'll give it a shot. So there's your fair warning, this will be pretty long, and still in pretty rough around the edges.

When I just told Matt the topic, he said "I guess at one time you thought your day job would be your passion" - meaning that I would bring my knowledge into a classroom full of beaming students ready to discuss the wonders of literature. Yeah, that didn't really happen. The full story is obviously more detailed, but that's more of a conversation for real life, or at least not for right now.

As my dad notably pointed out to me in a Las Vegas taxi this Christmas, sometimes its hard to determine how the things we love translate into the things we do. He told me he always loved cars, and is great at figuring them out, but doesn't want to be a mechanic (although he considered it). The same is true for Matt, who loves preparing food, but decided being a chef wouldn't allow the life he wanted (thank goodness!).

So now, I'm navigating the space beyond the obvious (loving English, and loving teaching, means you have to be an English teacher). I am integrating my passion for "education" and knowledge into my current job and I am finding spaces for growth and improvement there. I am considering what type of training might help me along in this "translation process" as I learn to combine my skills, my prior education and goals for the future. To be honest, it feels a lot less "determined" than I'd like it to. But, I want to take some time for the journey, and not just rush into another degree because it'll make me feel like I'm doing something.

I've just started reading "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" by Donald Miller. It's been a long time since I've picked up a book by this guy. The book is about the process of making "Blue Like Jazz" into a movie (don't worry, this had me scoffing too), and how he started considering his life as a story. It made him wonder what kind of story he was living. I've heard this kind of premise before (DCLA anyone?) but it's been hitting home with me, given the context above. So now I'm starting to do the same.

Here's what I figured out so far:

- I'm passionate about people - I always have been. When I consider the situations I have loved most in my life, it's almost always to do with who's there.

- I'm passionate about growth - both in myself and in others. Although I'm usually afraid of change, I long for it, and I want to look back and see how I've overcome obstacles and grown from them.

-I'm passionate about ideas and learning - I love the process of learning. I love how new ideas can spark in us and cause us to imagine. I also love what good teaching can do, and having people along side to facilitate the process of learning.

-I'm passionate about relationships - with my friends, with my family, with my co-workers. While this might seem similar to my first point, I stress here the "relationship" part, meaning a long-view of what we're meant to be for one another, not just a one-off moment here and there.

-I'm passionate about stories - no, I just didn't write that because of Donald Miller. Although maybe a bit (credit where it's due) I wrote it because I hesitate to narrow it to "literature" or "books". I'm more interested in how what we read and what we imagine and that interacts with how we live.

So that's a start - maybe a vague start, but a start nonetheless. When I read the beginning of this post to Matt, he said he wasn't sure I really addressed the topic, and maybe I haven't, but the truth is, it's because:

I'm working on it.


Jenny Childers said...

I love this post, Sharelle. I've been doing lots of thinking about this myself. Wish we could sit down for a cup of coffee and discuss!

afterthoughtcomposer said...

As we discussed yesterday, sometimes “not addressing” the issue is the only real way to address it – because often, the issue is more about thought and emotion than it is detailed and numbered lists in order. I’m excited to see where you land, after all this figuring.

theRachel said...

I realized I have a quote for you (and I know you love a good quote):

"Find what you love. You are what you do every day. If you don't enjoy it, a significant percentage of your life won't give you pleasure."
- Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University (and she's Canadian)

It can definitely be a challenge to figure this job/employment/life stuff out - the translation bit. I'm in the same boat, in some ways.

Lana Vug said...

wow. Love the post. all I can say is I get it. It took me a while to get where I am now and I can't believe what I'm doing for a career at the moment. Its the best ever for me... its only taken me about 6 or so years to figure this out after graduating. haha.

I totally thought I had picked the wrong direction in career and I wouldn't be able to do what I wanted until I went back to school again for another 4 years and I didn't want to do that.

I felt like I was in this place of "meandering." It made me realise I was settling for less in the last job, but the last job was just my pathway to get me to the current job - so it had a purpose!

Tyler said...

Yes, indeed this is a very apt post for what has been on my mind (at least tacitly) of late. My "day job" is singularly my passion at this moment; but in the near future I will be in search of a job, or a vocation, or both... and herein lies the question at hand.

Also, I enjoy the title of the post: "your day job versus your passion". As "versus" is a Latin term (adverb) meaning "toward" or "in the direction of", I think that in this title we find the question: how do we - or should we, can we - direct our day job toward our passion?

Thank you for your preliminary thoughts on the topic.