Finding a calling: how not to waste years of your life on a disgusting job
I changed my profession three times, and with each new attempt, my life changed. I feel 300% better than at the beginning of the journey, and I want to tell you about the approach that helped me in this.
When people choose a profession, they often focus on the image that matches it. For example, a doctor is Dr. House, who thinks about the diagnosis for a long time, saves lives, and receives gratitude from patients. One day a person says to himself — I want to become a doctor or an interior designer and goes to learn the profession. This approach rarely works. People spend years mastering a profession, eventually realizing it does not fit the imaginary image. As a result, it turns out that the doctor listens to the same symptoms 90% of the time and prescribes the same medicines. There is little romance in this. I suggest another way to choose a profession — to focus on processes that bring pleasure. Subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!
The process is the key to finding a calling
The idea is simple — a set of processes at the heart of any profession. The process is you doing something. These are important activities, like “analyzing information” or “generating ideas,” found in various combinations in many professions. If you understand which processes you like and which you don’t, you can find many professions that you will be interested in and can become your calling.
Consider an example of how professions are decomposed into processes — two different professions: mobile application designer and marketer.
- A mobile application designer, programmers, and other specialists create programs for mobile phones. He works on the idea, studies people’s problems using this program, creates visual elements (its appearance), and much more.
- A marketer helps companies create and sell products and services that people find attractive. He studies the needs of people and the market, creates the right image of products, manages advertising campaigns, and much more.
At first glance, they do different things and create different products, but this is not so.
The processes behind their activities:
- Research: search and analysis of information
- Creation of solutions: generation of ideas, synthesis of information
- Creating a product: assembling visual solutions, formulating meanings, writing texts
- Communication: presentation and defense of ideas
The processes are the same, but the tools and the final product differ.
More chance of success
If these processes, that is, what you do, bring pleasure to a person, then he is: happy and can do these processes long enough and a lot to get a good result in the form of recognition and money. To enjoy work and find a calling, you need to find a profession in which there will be the vast majority of processes that bring pleasure. I propose digging deeper into the pleasure of processes so you can more accurately determine the right processes for yourself.
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More career choices
If you look at different professions as specific processes, many more professions suit you.
What do a marketer, interface designer, and programmer have in common? These are entirely different people who create completely different products and, it would seem, do completely different things. But all these professions have many of the same processes. All of them conduct research and collect and analyze information. All three professions are tied to creative processes, generating ideas daily. All of them regularly present their ideas to colleagues and clients.
If you like to analyze information, come up with ideas and present them, then any of these professions can suit you. And each of them can become your calling, depending on the other processes in these professions. Or you can create your profession.
There are many professions where you can only do what you like and not do what you don’t like. You need to look for professions with a greater concentration on those processes that you like.
Looking for a vocation in well-known professions like a doctor, lawyer, or policeman is unnecessary. You have much more opportunities because every year, there are a lot of in-demand professions like blogger or design strategist. It is easier for these people to tell what they do than to explain who they are by profession, but this does not reduce their demand in the market.
You can also create your profession. Like my friend, who was a psychologist and became a marketer, now he helps companies and people build communication with the outside world. Such a view of the world makes it possible not to drive yourself into a framework but to do what you like and create your vocation.
Two types of right processes
Professions are made up of different processes: some can be liked, others not. Often people will say something like: “In general, I like my work, but it often makes me sick. I like coming up with ideas and interacting with people. But I must constantly make presentations and defend them to management, write messages, manage ad placements (and usually 50 more points) — I hate it.”
The pleasure of work appears at the junction of 2 types of processes:
- Processes that generate energy — after them, you feel uplifted and inspired.
- The opposite is the process after which you feel tired and weak.
Processes during which a person is maximally involved — when you do something and time goes unnoticed.
The opposite is processed, during which you are easily distracted, put in a lot of effort to focus, and strive to procrastinate in every possible way.
Have you ever felt more energized at the end of a working day than before? Not? And this often happens to people who have found their calling. It does not mean they do not get tired, but that most of the processes they are engaged in during work do not take energy from them. We all met people who could talk non-stop for hours and not get tired. It is an example of when a person is busy with a process that does not take away or even generate energy.
I can write a course program for 10 hours in a row, and at the end, I want to work out, take a walk, enjoy life, and so on. After a public speech, I lie flat for the rest of the day and even the whole next. One process gives energy. Another takes away. Life will quickly turn into hell if you do not manage their quantity.
People who have found their calling often say they do not notice how the hours fly by at work. You sit down to work in the morning and can only wake up when it gets dark or your wife calls you for dinner. It is an example of high engagement if you have heard of the flow state. During such processes, we are wholly absorbed in an activity. We feel calm and self-confident, sometimes euphoric. Unfortunately, another story is more common — when a person with all his might cannot start work for a long time, he is constantly distracted and procrastinates.
How to identify the right processes and find a profession to your liking
A vocation is when you do your job passionately, giving you energy.
When you understand which processes are right for you, you can look for jobs with a high concentration of processes that are right for you.
Ideally, we want to find processes during which you are involved and, at the same time, receive energy, but this is not always the case. For example, during performances, I am very involved and in a state of flow, but they take energy from me, and I have to alternate them with other things to restore balance.
Determining the right processes is elementary — for it, you need to monitor yourself regularly. For example, note and analyze the processes you were engaged in at the end of each day or once a week. It takes 10-15 minutes, and you can start right away. The process consists of several short exercises.
Exercise 1 — remember moments from the past when your activity (not necessarily work) brought pleasure, namely:
- After what activities do you feel a boost of energy and enthusiasm?
- What activities do you feel tired after? (This is rarely associated with normal fatigue and can occur even at the beginning of the working day
- What activities can you do without the heaviness and overcoming, for which hours quickly fly by, and you are focused and calm?
- What activities do you do with great effort, heaviness, and the need to “get over yourself”?
Exercise 2 — identify the processes behind the classes
- Reflect on what happened. Found something fun or exciting? Which processes are the most pleasant, which ones take energy, and do you do them through force?
- Try to abstract them and dig deeper. What is the basic process behind these sessions?
Exercise 3 — think about ways to have more fun at work
- How can you reduce energy-intensive and low-involvement processes?
- How can you increase the number of highly engaged processes and processes that give you energy?
I do these exercises regularly, once every few weeks. It helps me better know myself and correct what I do in time. In addition, over time, pleasant processes can get boring, and it is better to know about it right away, and not when burnout occurs, and there is no energy to change anything.
Finding a profession with many pleasurable processes is the most difficult and often requires much work. If you had an insight and understood how you could change your work for the better on the first try, then my congratulations. If insight does not occur, you must observe yourself for some time. You can dig into the past and think about what processes you liked as a child or during your school years.
Suppose you have identified the right processes, but it seems there is no suitable profession for them. In that case, it is worth digging into different industries or creating your profession (which will almost always be the best option).
When looking for a vocation, it is better to focus not on the flair of the profession but on the processes of which it consists. Often, seemingly different professions consist of the same processes.
For example, a designer has many standard processes with a marketer and a programmer with a writer. Understanding this makes it possible to see different options for your vocation and move from one profession to another less painlessly.
You will find many professions suitable for you from different industries if you understand what processes give you energy and during which processes you easily remain highly involved.
You can understand this through regular monitoring of yourself and keeping a diary: once a day/week, pay attention to 2 things:
- After what activities did you feel an upsurge/downswing of energy
- During which activities did you find it easy/difficult to concentrate on work?
After that, you reduce the share of bad and increase the share of good processes in your work. And if this is not possible in the current profession, then you are looking for a new one, focusing on processes and not on how the profession looks from the outside.
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