Can We Create The Job We Love?

January 5, 2019

Can We Create The Job We Love?

What does Confucius and Steve Jobs have in common, besides being famous? Both are prominent figures to describe the effects and elements of the right vocational choice. They have also been advocates of not only being in the job we enjoy but personal development in order to be successful in any occupation.

Choose a job

So is Confucius arguing that we should find a job in order to be lazy? Not really, he is arguing that your feelings matter. If you are connected to the values, vision and goals of your company, they become your values, your goals and your tasks. You do not feel you are working. Therefore, you are highly productive, enjoying the process and having a great chance in experiencing flow as Mihály Csíkszentmihályi once described brilliantly with his observation of musicians, sport experts and scientists.

When Steve Jobs famously addressed the fresh graduates of Stanford University in 2005, he revitalized the old Confucian argument to choose the right job, with his phrase “stay hungry, stay foolish” and his personal story of wandering around until he finally found ways to express his ideas with his products and simplify everything around it.

Stay Hungry

Confucius and Steve Jobs are inspiring, but how do we gain the skills to be like them in our everyday life? How to find the right job? How to stay hungry on the way? Can we be passionate enough in our mundane tasks to not only deliver assigned work but challenge approaches and systems for better results?
In order to answer these questions, we will have a look into the history of matching in the labor market.

Brief History of Matching in the Labor Market

Choosing a vocation is an old story often connected to the art of great storytellers from different religious and traditional backgrounds. There is another old yet a little modern approach by F. Parsons from 1909, that is still often used and thought about today. It is called the ´trait and factor-approach` or named ´matching`.

Often we hear the phrase “It is a good match” whether it is about the labor market or a dating app. But what makes a match a ‘good match’?
Parsons thought that every vocation and occupation is connected with different psychological characteristics of the employee. So a person should display the necessary psychological characteristics, if he wanted a career in a certain field.

This was the start of modern scientific research about vocational choices, recruitment, matching and labor market services. This has expanded way beyond testing, assessment and employer branding. Today it consists of motivational factor analysis, network analysis and an analysis of work and external environment.

While we can easily ignore the topic saying these are the concepts HR professionals deal with, however, we need to break these complex theories down for our best advantage. A way to do it is to ask a lot of questions to ourselves and those around us. We may ask –
How do we feel about our identity and how is the concept of work integrated into it? What failures did we face and how did we endure? What do we truly value in life?
Answer to it is often – ‘I feel ambiguous about my work experience’. ‘I like my colleagues and a part of the job is interesting but the stress is overwhelming’.
Work can be monotonous and not challenging enough after a certain point. Or simply we feel stuck! So you may have wandered around to stumble on this page with a hope to find a solution.

Let us look at a few ways we can find the job we love, and continue to enjoy the day-to-day activities.

Connecting with the right people

 It helps to clarify your emotions behind your professional experience, talking about what really matter to you. Whether it is your CV or LinkedIn profile, it should reflect your personality. This creates an opportunity to increase your connection with people who are already engaged in the things you would like to do.

Opportunities in existing workplace

Your current role may not offer everything you want to accomplish, however, it gives you an opportunity to discuss assignments where you can add value. If you want more out of your day job ask for it. Often when there is no structured opportunity, communicate your ideas, plans and visions to your peers and supervisor, and engage them in the process. There are ample resources you can leverage in your current organization, you can open a new world for yourself by knocking on a door.


A good and practical idea is to start freelancing as you can embrace new challenges. Side-projects help discover new possibilities. Do not miss out on the chance of taking part in conferences and workshops. Such gatherings are amazing and wonderful environment to meet people who resonate with your ideas and thoughts. Finding the best people, who will inspire you and make you grow in terms of talent and expressed potential is vitalizing.

Managing Failure 

Failure is painful. Very few people have a good attitude around failure, but it is good to remind ourselves that every failure makes us more passionate and increase our endurance, so we can finally achieve our goals much like Abraham Lincoln frequently lost in elections until he finally made it to be a legendary American president. Mentioning examples of great people is not necessarily helpful for everyone, because we easily separate ourselves from the over achievers and legends of history. But are we really that different? Or does the modern world, digitalization and globalization offer much more possibilities than any era before that? I think it does, so if we use our mind, our creativity and our connections well, we can be truly great and enjoy our job.

Taking chances

There are many stories to share from around the world and they will come to your attention with time. Today I will just share my personal story of taking chances. Taking the chance of being a student again after graduation in political communication gave me the potential to renew myself. Now I write. And here I am speaking with you which is totally inspiring and amazing. All because I took a chance to do something that I love.
So when, was the last time you did something you really loved to do?

Unachievable Goals

Is there an audacious goal on your list you think is impossible to achieve? A strategy of continuous little steps can lead towards a final breakthrough through accumulation of changes. So what first sounds difficult can be divided in many small steps and your direction will be shaped by your action. Hence I recommend Vilfredo Pareto’s 80/20-principle in every task. With just 20 % of effort and creativity you get more than 80% of your work on the way.

A few are quick to know what they love and they make it their profession, but for most of us it is journey to discover ourselves. I hope these abstract words and concrete ideas will help you to grow as a person and as a professional until you are the next Confucius or Steve Jobs that we all can learn from.

By – Florian Zejewski

Related Stories