This is part of BootsnAll’s 30 Days of Indie Travel project, a daily blogging challenge with a prompt for every day in November 2011. Check out the prompt at the bottom of this post to find out how you can participate!
The year was 2008 and the routine was familiar. By around 5pm on Sunday night, my stomach would be a knot of anxiety at the thought of returning to work the next day. By Wednesday or Thursday afternoon, I’d send a frantic, frustrated email to friends: Happy hour. Tonight. Necessity. Friday at 5pm was bittersweet as I felt the release of knowing I had the next 70+ hours to myself mixed with the unshakable knowledge that come Monday I’d be right back here.
I didn’t hate my job and I wasn’t bad at it. I received praise for my performance and significant raises on a regular basis. I did what needed to be done and worked hard to do well, but I just didn’t care. I wasn’t passionate about my work. I was happiest when I was traveling, researching travel for myself or for others, or writing about my trips. I was passionate about travel and about writing, and also about helping others to travel as well. So if figured if I couldn’t get excited about my work, I could get excited about my new hobby that combined all those things that made me happy– travel writing. I started a blog. I got on twitter. I read books about how to write better. I attended seminars and workshops on writing and social media and SEO. I started freelancing and within several months, I found myself faced with a dilemma.
I could no longer keep up with the amount of freelance opportunities I had. I either needed to quit my well-paying job and dive headfirst into a risky financial situation, or I needed to do less of what I loved so I could focus on the safe but boring job that paid the bills and funded my travel. I took the risk and after freelancing for a few months, was offered the best of both words – the ability to use my combine my writing skills and love of travel while receieving a steady paycheck.
It hasn’t always been easy, but I wouldn’t trade my job working for a amazing travel company like BootsnAll for twice the salary to do a job I didn’t love. Work used to be 9-5; play was everything else. Now the two parts of my life don’t punch a clock. There are times when my work feels like anything but, and when playtime involves colleagues and professional connections. The job is sometimes hard and often stressful, but it’s because I care. And unlike in my previous job, when I would come home emotionally drained, now even on my most frustrating days, I find that I still have the energy to pursue other passions.
I’ve learned that there is no excuse for settling or doing a job that doesn’t excite you. When so much of who you are is tied to what you do (after all, “what do you do?” is the second question people ask when they meet you) and so much of your life is spent working, don’t you want to love it? Whether it’s technology, or design, or research, or advertising, or whatever else that gets you pumped to go to work each morning, you deserve the time to figure it out.
Don’t settle. Things about what makes you happiest and how you can apply it to a career path. If you aren’t sure, take a break, go experience the world, push yourself to try new things and see what gets you excited.
The oft-repeated Confucius quote – Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life – isn’t completely true (work you love still requires effort) but when you find a job you love, it stops feeling like something you have to do, and becomes something you want to do. I always felt like I was stuck on a path. I had experience, I’d worked my way up. I was making a nice salary and had lots of vacation time. Starting over would mean giving that up and taking the risk that I would fail. But I also knew if I didn’t take that risk, I’d regret it even more.
>> Learn more about how a travel break can benefit your career
30 Days of Indie Travel Project: How to Participate
We’re inviting bloggers from around the world (that means you, too!) to join us in a daily blogging effort designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.
We’ll share some of our favorites via Twitter and Facebook throughout November, as well as a round-up article at the end of the month, so if you’re playing along make sure to let us know – use the #indie30 hashtag on Twitter, and link to the 30 Days of Indie Travelpage in your post so we’ll be able to find it.
Find out all of the 30 Days of Indie Travel blogging prompts so far – it’s never too late to join in the fun!
Prompt #17: Passion
It’s easy to be passionate about travel, but does that passion permeate the rest of your life? Do you live and work with passion? Why or why not?
Tools and inspiration: Check out some of the great things travel can help you to appreciate about life at home