I was talking with advertising creative icon Bruce Matchett in Singapore about careers and making sure we don’t waste the opportunity to do something every day we really love doing. Then he asked me a question that stunned me. I have been thinking about it ever since. Bet it’s the toughest you’ve been asked in a while.
I like Sir Ken Robinson’s concept about working in your element... doing what you love and are really good at every day. If you can work in your element, says Sir Ken, you will never work another day in your life. Instead, you’ll be fully energised and having the time of your life!
Sir Ken also knows there is reality underpinning this question. We also have a need to generate a certain level of income to service our responsibilities and desired lifestyle, so often our journey towards working in our ‘element’ needs to be incremental (unless you have a magic wand).
Sir Ken talks about reaching our ‘element’ by balancing our passion with our ability (our capability at that passion) and our needs (the amount of money we need). A good starting point though is to get clarity on what your genuine passion is - what is it that if you could do it every day, would make you genuinely happy and feel like you are not ‘working’ another day in your life?
And that is where the power lay in the question Bruce asked me on that hot Singapore night. The question forces us to get very clear on what we really, really want to do every day.
Here’s the question:
If every job in the world paid $50,000, what job would you do if you could do any job?
Wow. Now that’s a question. I have by most standards an extremely well paid job. But my role comes with enormous pressure, sacrifice and compromise. There is a real price to pay. Would I do it if this role paid a flat $50,000 and if every other job in the world paid the same amount? No way would I do it!
So then, what would I do?
That’s the question that has really plagued me. What would I really love to do, every day. Bruce’s question helped give me fast clarity. Before sharing it, I want to ask you these two questions:
- If every job in the world paid $50,000, what would you do if you could do any job you wanted?
- Would you keep doing the job you’re doing now, because you are in your ‘element’ and you just love it, or would you do something completely different?
For me, as I became clear on the job I’d want to do, because I’d LOVE it, I then began to think about how I could build my capability in that area, and how perhaps I could actually make it work too from my financial needs perspective. Not there yet, but maybe it is something I could evolve into as my circumstance change over the next few years. How about for you?
My option if I could select any job I wanted and do this in a world where every single role, whether rock star, Google CEO or car cleaner pays $50,000 a year?
Yours? And how can you get to do that role and still meet your financial needs?
About the author
Chris Savage is an acknowledged leader of the Asia/Pacific public relations and communications industry.
Chris is Chief Operating Officer of STW Group, the largest listed marketing content and communications services group in the southern hemisphere with $400 million in annual revenue. He sits on the board of more than 70 group companies and is a much sought after speaker and trainer.