Feel like a quick quiz?
Answer these questions as being True or False:
- You can’t find fulfilling work, not in this economic environment.
- Only people who are bit soft in the head can tune into their inner world, find their unique talents and make a living.
- You must be a dreamer if you think that you can find a position or create a job for yourself with the hours, challenges and rewards you want.
Congratulations. You recognised that all three statements were False.
I know of a guy who came up with a business to do painting of homes and complexes. He works the hours that he wants to work, enjoys what he is doing and is able to live the lifestyle he wants at a coastal town where he can commune with nature and the sea whenever he wants.
In his early years when he was doing this, he was self-conscious about not getting a “real” job. Now that his years have advanced he’s got more freedom than anyone of his friends who are in formal jobs. And he’s been able to accumulate property in valuable areas which gives him as much “material wealth” as any one of his peers. In fact, his best friend who works for a large oil company in Cape Town was retrenched before he could reach pensionable age because the company has not been doing well worldwide as a result of its poor reputation.
Another person I met recently is someone who hated formal work and, although very successful at selling, gave it all up and now lives on a fixed income. His challenge is that he is struggling to come up with income for himself. This is so despite that he has many good “ideas” of what he could do with his life but just doesn’t seem to be able to get started on anything.
Many people working in formal work environments have achieved some sort of “vocational integration” and are very happy in their jobs and doing what they have been trained for and can be creative and driven to excel. Some people thrive in a larger working environment where they have networks and support systems that help drive their performance. But the bigger companies are not for everyone and sometimes people are faced with the difficult choice of needing to leave the perceived “security” of a company and go out on their own to follow their passion or do work that they believe better aligns with their aspirations and values.
Yet in both instances the individual who is going to be happy, thrive and succeed in their own eyes requires a sense of creative possibility, where they are able to help shape and determine what they enjoy and do best. This creative involvement can’t be achieved unless the individual participates fully in their work. Marsha Sinetar says the vocationally integrated, actualising personality makes choices that are important to his feeling that he can “create”, that he has options and that he can make a difference. “Through these acts and attitudes, we grow to see that our work is more than something by which to “earn a living”; it is that which helps us build our life.”
For young people who can’t find work, experienced people who have been let go and mature workers who would like to keep working, it’s become more important than before to identify and create opportunities that are not “ready-made” but that come in the form of products and personal services that express their particular creative abilities, are practical, help them to follow their heart and make a living.