I agree wholeheartedly with The New York Times’ article “The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love” and why it is important to do so.
If you’re confused about a career direction, think backward. Start with a brand or cause that you love or feel connected to. Ask yourself, “Why do I love this brand?” Perhaps it’s the quality of service, efficient design or organizational mission.
I once asked one career direction seeking college senior why he loved Apple so much. He explained that not only did his first Mac function well, as well as any PC, it was so much more beautiful, designed efficiently and looked sleek. He spoke about his Mac the way car lovers wax and wane about a sleek Italian sports car. Steve Jobs understood that performance was as important as how the product design was digested by your eye and heart. Jobs “thought differently” by equalizing form and function in the personal computer space. Car marketers have known this for a long time. It is emotional brand bonding at its best.
Here is the roadmap. Find three brands with which you emotionally bond and then ask, “Do I have skills that the brand could use?” Love a tech firm but you’re a graphic designer? No problem. At the end of the day, all brands are organizations that require employees with a variety of skills and backgrounds to meet their operational goals.
It may take big changes on your part to make your dream work. You may need to be willing to live in the brand’s hometown or start in a position that helps get your foot in the door and work your way up. If the brand is a good fit for you, then any sacrifices or challenges will be worth it in the long run.
It is never too late to change career paths either. I know a former newspaper writer and publishing production manager who loves Apple so much that she got a Saturday job working in her local Apple store—at the tender age of 45. She fast became a Genius and then Genius trainer. From the inside, she scanned the Apple corporate opportunities and found a job that would leverage her writing skills, designing and writing Apple product manuals. Now she works at Apple Corporate as a writer and manual designer. Her recent Facebook post, “Thought of the day, ‘I love My Job,’” says it all.