What Was I Born To Do?

48 Days To The Work You Love: Day 2

profilephotoWow, that is a good question and I’m not quite sure I can answer it. To be honest, I don’t think there is one specific thing I was born to do. I was born to be a man, husband and father. That much I know for sure.

Yesterday’s task was to get familiar with the schedule and commit to it.  Today the task was to read Chapter 1 and ask yourself what work has meant to you so far.  Then ask yourself what you were “born to do.”

What Work Has Meant

Work has always been mostly just a paycheck to me.  I have never really loved any job I have had.  My main motivation is dinero, cash, moolah.  Which isn’t entirely true because right out of college I had two job offers.  One as an Computer Engineer and another as a QA Engineer. The QA job offered less but it was a start-up that just launched their first product and the manager expected the business to grow rapidly and that there would be a lot of opportunity to grow.  The product seemed really cool and that was what really excited me about the job.  I would be working with something new and exciting.  I had big hopes for that job but none of them were realistic.

I wasn’t sure about what I wanted at that point.  I had just earned a BS in Computer Engineering but I was considering getting a Masters in Public Administration.  I thought it would be cool to be a city planner or something.  I don’t know!  I’m glad I didn’t do that.

My main criteria for each job I have taken is a salary higher than my previous job.  That hasn’t been too hard to do considering I started out on the very low end of the curve for software engineers.  Potential employers love to hear my current salary.  My current manager keeps trying to get me raises because he feels so badly that I make less than everyone else.  I try not to be too demanding and thank him but honestly I’m making nearly double what I was making 6 years ago.

I feel like work is very important.  I have huge responsibility to provide for my family and not be idle.  I have taken a few jobs just so that I wouldn’t go a day without work or benefits.  I’ve never left a job without another one lined up.  Even when one company was going under and paying us a month late I stuck around until I was able to land another job.  Insurance has been another big factor considering we’ve had 4 children since we graduated from college and each was born c-section.  Without group insurance we couldn’t have had the last 3.

What Was I Born To Do?

I have given it a lot of thought and looked at the patterns from my childhood, different jobs and hobbies.  I was born to analyze and create.  I love solving problems and being creative.  I enjoy programming only if I’m creating something or solving problems.  This happens a lot but not always.  I prefer to build things from scratch.  I also love to learn new things constantly.  I get bored easily and have to keep my mind stimulated with new projects all the time.  I like being artistic although I haven’t developed my artistic abilities at all.  I’ve never taken a single art class in my life.  I’ve wanted to but I never let myself.  Art electives seemed like a waste of time.  Art is supposed to be a hobby, not a career.  I have a grand appreciation for all art though.  I love music, photography, videography, painting and sketching.  I have just never given myself the chance to learn them in a formal setting.  What I would love to do is create something that inspires and moves people.

I was also born to make people laugh. I don’t consider myself a comedian and I come off as very serious to most people.  I have a side to me though that is very playful and goofy.  I almost like to keep a secret so that people are shocked when they finally see my crazy side.  And they almost always are.

A Match

Programming has provided me some creative opportunities but the truth is programming typically follows rigid rules and requirements.  Many times software is already developed and programmers are only fixing or making small improvements or creating tests for software.  I can’t think of very many projects I have worked on that have directly improved anyone’s life.  Programming is not fun and there is not much room for humor or artistic creativity.  I don’t really even consider myself a great programmer!  I am probably pretty average and messy.  When people ask me what I do I feel anxiety about saying that I am a software engineer.  To many people this just means I am the guy to go to for tech support for their personal electronics.

Yesterday was I feeling nervous about not having many of the benefits my current job provides but after this I am certain that I was not born to be a software engineer.  I value the fact that I know how to program and I am grateful for the skill.  I hope to use it when possible to help people but it isn’t something I would like to do for rest of my life.

I used to think that work was something you endured until you were 65 ( or 40 if you were lucky and invested wisely ) then retired from to begin enjoying life.  I no longer think that way.  The people I have seen that love their work and work until the end are much happier.  I no longer think retirement is a goal of mine.  My goal is to love working and keep at it until I am physically and mentally unable to work.