I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my job lately. Is it secure? What’s the mood like at the office? Similar to many companies, things have been unsettled at Best Buy in 2012.
When you get asked these things, I think it’s natural to reflect on your situation and think what you should be doing about it. On the surface it’s easy – you have a couple of options: You can hunker down and ride it out, or you can look for an escape route and jump ship. But that’s why these answers are on the surface – they feel superficial. It doesn’t get to the real questions: What inspires you? What gets you excited about arriving at the office? What do you want to get out of work aside from receiving a paycheck?
These questions really have to do with finding a role where you like what you’re doing and getting paid for it. I know not everyone is in a job that they enjoy, but I think that when it comes to work we all have to focus on finding our niche — the place where effort meets inspiration. Finding the place where working hours are actually energizing.
I know this isn’t easy to do, and for me I feel fortunate on a couple of fronts. First off, I get to work in a role that I find very interesting. I’ve written about my job before but in case you hadn’t seen that post, presently I’m leading a team that is responsible for Best Buy’s social media marketing. It took me some time over the course of my career to find my path, but I eventually figured out my own niche. I prefer to work in new and emerging marketing spaces, and my role right now definitely fits the bill. I get to collaborate with a great team as well as cross paths with smart people whether they are at other brands or agencies or technology companies. We get to work on creative projects that allow me to stretch myself. But this doesn’t mean that I only look for inspiration inside my day job –I’m also looking for other avenues to push myself.
Aside from my gig at Best Buy, I’m spending much of my free time working on a website project involving one of my major passion points – music. Like any labor of love, I’m putting in a lot of effort, but it’s been a ton of fun and I’m learning a lot. (I’ll write more about it at a future point but that’s another story for another time.)
I’ve also seen this play out in my wife’s career. After working for several years as an art director and journalist, Leslie was feeling worn out from the grind of the newspaper industry. Instead of taking the path of least resistance and accepting a buy-out when she had the opportunity, she focused her time and energy on figuring out what really got her excited. For her, it was twofold. She wanted to apply her creativity and design aesthetic in a different manner. Additionally, she had an interest in teaching. These interests manifested into two unique job opportunities. First off, as a pure hobby she started a daily photography blog which then in turn became a part-time photography business. On the teaching front she was able to land a role as a part-time instructor at the University of Minnesota. In the end she was able to dial back her commitments at the newspaper and work there part-time while then taking on these other two new positions. Now, she’ll admit that she is busier with these three roles combined when compared to where she was before, but I know she has more energy for her career than she did three years ago because they all fuel each other, and in turn, fuel her passion for the work.
I know these are only two examples, and while it may sound easy to find work that inspires you, it isn’t. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do and to find the ways to make that happen. But in the end I think you owe it to yourself to focus on where you want to go, what you want to do and find a way to make it happen. Because if you don’t find something that inspires you, no matter how much it pays or what the job title is, at a certain point wouldn’t it just be going through the motions?
(Photos courtesy of Kicki Holmén.)