The key focus of this pattern is founded in the all too familiar scenario where you fundamentally enjoy the subject matter you are surrounded by at your work; however, the work itself gets in the way of your passion for the subject. An example of this would be suppose you are really passionate about software design and you enjoy taking your time making a solid product using good code. While that is your passion, and rightfully so, you may find your job is more concerned about functionality and speed. They might prefer you create shoddy code in a quick amount of time that works, rather than doing the job properly. As you might imagine, if your goal was to be employed to create solid code the way you always have, this might hurt your motivation.
The proposed solution to this predicament is to search around at your work and find something that properly interests you. Involve yourself in it and put in as much time towards it as possible. Outside of work, do the same. Find and work on interesting things that satiate your passion. I would continue the prior example to demonstrate how the solution works, except that its a pretty good example for why it doesn’t. I’m sure that in the right situation, the proposed solutions are good options. In situations such as above, however, it isn’t really possible to change what you do at work to better suit your passion. If you already work in software for the company, and the software isn’t up to your standard, where in the company can you go that is up to your standard?
Many companies have a fixed structure. Often, if you attempt to either move yourself around or change the structure itself, it is easier for the company to simply let you go and find someone else. That’s one of many problems that come from jobs being rare and workers being abundant. If jobs had to compete with one another for workers, overall conditions for workers would improve. As a quick aside: in my opinion, if the government weren’t trying its hardest to support major corporations (due to being bought out by them) and got rid of regulation that solely hurts small businesses, maybe in a more free-market economy where almost anyone can start up a company jobs could be abundant and would have to compete for workers. Speaking of idealistic views that might not actually stand up in real life, a second component to the proposed solution is to work on personal projects in your free time.
This is similarly not a valid option for many situations. Often, people simply do not have the time to work a full-time job and fulfill other responsibilities. Bringing up my example once again, you can work on quality software all week long in your free time, but writing code you know is bad and that you know could be better with just a little bit more time will always drain on you. Sometimes and for some people, it can be pretty easy to work on something you don’t enjoy. It can be easy to create something worthless and bad, but it depends on the situation and, more so, the person in particular. I personally find it extremely hard to work on things I don’t care about; even if I just have to do it badly.
It can be hard to have a strong passion for something and then have other people not allow you to do it. It isn’t even a matter of them letting you do it; it would be enough for them to do nothing. But often times, they directly work to oppose what your soul wants you to do. That said, you can’t just vilify them for it. You ended up in a bad situation but in the previous example, for instance, you wouldn’t be stuck. Maybe you misunderstood what they want or maybe they misled you. But if it’s a matter of your soul, so to speak, you can always leave the job. It isn’t always that simple; we have responsibilities and bills to pay. That’s why I personally believe that if you have the opportunity, build up your savings and investments. Sacrifice some of your standard of living now so you can afford to make a change like this in the future. Do your best to prevent yourself from getting trapped in life.
From the blog CS@Worcester – The Introspective Thinker by David MacDonald and used with permission of the author. All other rights reserved by the author.