My friend Jacob currently sells ads for a web 2.0 company. He’s a beast on the phone, relentless with customers, and has the highest client conversion rate out of anyone at his office. He’s darn good at selling, but you know what? He hates it. He walks into work every morning with his head down, takes a deep breath, and starts selling. Each and everyday is the same.
Jacob has one true passion in his life – films. Not necessarily watching films, but rather, he loves to create short films on his digital camcorder. Every month, he’ll create a short film, maybe 5-7 minutes in length, and privately watch it on his computer. The thing is that he’s really shy about his films. He doesn’t show it to anyone because he feels they’re not good.
After months of bugging him about it, he finally let me watch one of his short films. And believe it or not… it stunk. I mean, it was really not good at all. I felt so bad to crush his dreams, so I just said, “Hey that was pretty neat Jacob. Keep working on it and I know that you’ll get better.”
He smiled, but I think he knew the truth…
Discovering your authentic brand
Since that day, I’ve been constantly thinking about doing what we’re passionate about. I mean everyone talks about it, but how many people are actually able to do it? Jacob loves films, but it seems he lacks the creativity and skills to be able to make a career out of it.
So what should Jacob do: Should he learn to love his sales job? or should he devote more time and effort into short films?
Learn to love what you do
Is it a sin to learn to love your job? The Gen Y community sure makes it seem like it is. I hardly find a single Gen Y blogger who writes about how much she loves her corporate job. Most of the content I find online reads about escaping the cubicle, automating life, and living location independent. I think that’s great, but it makes it that much harder for people to learn to love their job, stuck in a cubicle.
Analyzing Jacob’s situation, I feel that he would lead a much happier life if he would just swallow his pride and accept that he’s good at selling online advertisements. If he accepted his gift, then he would walk into work happy, he would probably make more sales because he would be in a better mood, and he could potentially get promoted faster because people would like to work with him much more.
If Jacob learned to love his job, then he would lead a happier and more fulfilling life.
But Jacob is holding on to something more. His pride won’t let him give up on the quest to become a filmmaker. Everyone online tells him to make money doing what he loves to do, so he continues to pursue this hopeless goal.
But is it really hopeless…
Do what you love
This is the holy grail for social media. To be able to do what you love is the greatest feeling anyone can have, right? But, how can you make a career doing what you love when you’re not good at it?
The simple answer would be: Start a blog! Jacob can start a blog about Short-Films. He can write reviews, post pictures of screenings, post posters, and even interview the actors and actresses. That sounds like so much fun!
But to who? I actually pitched this to Jacob, but he replied saying he doesn’t necessarily want to write a blog, he doesn’t know if he likes to interview people, and he feel maintaining a blog would be too much work for him.
I could have easily responded by telling him that he could learn to love blogging; but then that’s just circular isn’t it? He should just learn to love his sales job since he’s good at it anyways.
There is a way to do both
It’s all about accepting who you are. Jacob is unhappy because he doesn’t accept the fact that he’s good at selling; he’s unhappy because he’s very self-conscious about the short-films that he produces. But if he just accepts who he is, he can live the same life and be happy doing it.
Jacob can be happy that he’s a stellar employee and making good money. He can be happy that he has the time and drive to pursue something that he loves to do. And so what if he can’t make a career out of film. What ever happened to hobbies just for fun?
We can get so consumed with what we’re not good at; It’s time to appreciate what we are good at.
Jun is the Director of Social Media for SEOP, a search engine optimization company. He is also the Founder and CMO of Viralogy, the social media rank. His personal blog, How to Succeed as a Young Entrepreneur, gives a real, unfiltered view of the Startup Life so that current and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from his successes and mistakes.