Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Take Your Passion With You" (Excerpt from "Ordinary Greatness")

"It's surprising how many people come home from relatively 'clean' jobs at the end of the day feeling bitter and miserable. Whereas the people I meet, by and large, seem really content with their lives, and happy with their dirty jobs. " -- Mike Rowe

Mike Rowe, host of TV’s “Dirty Jobs,” was asked by Fast Company magazine to share some tips and some life lessons he has learned as he has gone around the country spending time with people who do some of what most of us would refer to as the most disgusting jobs. Number one on his list was: “Never follow your passion, but by all means bring it with you.” (http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/122/seven-dirty-habits-of-highly-effluent-people.html) This struck us as great advice. Some say, “Follow your passion.” Dumb advice. If I simply followed my passion, I’m afraid most days I wouldn’t stop tossing the football around the backyard with my sons. I’m most passionate about spending time with my family, but of course, that has to be balanced with a need to make money, fulfill other obligations, etc. So we love Mike’s advice – take your passion with you wherever you go.

Just watching Mike’s show gives some insight to this concept. While everyone he visits is doing a dirty job, and for the most part, it seems, not getting rich doing it, every person he works alongside of is engaged and showing passion for the work. Can someone really be passionate about collecting chicken manure or scrubbing the inside of cement mixers? I doubt it. Instead, I think these people have brought their passion with them, and no matter what they were doing, they would be passionate about it. They just would be. Now, does it help to do work we find interesting? Of course. But we’ve also met executives who work in much nicer surroundings and make more money but who are miserable and exhibit less passion for their work than Mike’s friends. They have a great job, but they haven’t brought their passion with them.

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