How to find what you love to do

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Innovator82, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Innovator82 macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    Like many others, I was shocked when I heard about Steve Jobs resigning and I read all the articles about him afterwards. They all seemed to reference one of Steve's speeches at Stanford about finding what you love to do.

    Steve Jobs Stanford Speech

    I printed it out and taped it to my wall. It's one of the best speeches I ever read. I loved the part about being naked already because it's so true.

    I was inspired to find what I love to do after reading his advice so I googled how to do it and came across this article which was actually based on Jobs speech.

    How to find what you love to do

    I did the exercises and I'm happy to report I think I'm on to something! I've always wanted to start a consulting business for small business so I'm getting on that right now.

    Just out of curiosity, has anybody here found what they love to do and pursuing it?

    What's it like? How's the money? Was it worth it?
  2. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    From the time I was a baby (literally), I loved lighting. Just the way different types of light enhanced different areas and objects, and set a mood for anything. Even as a young kid, I would play with the dimmers in our dining room setting different levels and seeing what they looked like. I gathered up flashlights, and lit my stuffed animals from different angles, just seeing how the light "worked". I have no idea why, but I loved light.

    In 8th grade, I finally joined my high school's theatre program to work with lighting. I simply could not get enough. Throughout high school, it is all I wanted to do, and I spent every moment I could on stage doing something lighting-related.

    When I went to college, I never thought I could make a real career out of that, so I decided I might go into architecture, as I also loved to draw, and design houses. My father, being the business man, convinced me to go into engineering, because it's much more lucrative right off the bat (at least it might have been then).

    I lasted about 3/4 of the way through my freshman year (during which I also worked in the college theatre program), and after just a few days of Calculus 3 (aka pure misery), I broke down and called my parents to declare that I was changing my major to Theatre. This, of course, met with a lot of resistance. They pictured a starving artist unable to pay his bills and living on their sofa while delivering pizzas.

    But nothing like that ever happened. I spent the rest of my college life playing with lights. I joined the student activities council and ran lighting and sound for their events, working up to a production manager. A position was created for me to do this further so that I could be paid to do it. I was in heaven (except for those pesky classes).

    Upon graduation, I went on tour with family ice shows for numerous years and traveled all over the world, still playing with lights. There were good times and bad times, as there is with everything, but looking back...I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. After that I went out with a Broadway show for a little over a year, and that was probably the best year of my life, bar none.

    Nowadays, I still work as a freelance lighting designer, technician, and programmer. I'm not exactly where I want to be in the field, but I'm still getting to play with light almost every day. The bonus is that it pays quite well, and being freelance leaves me plenty of free time to pursue other activities.

    I'm now looking for ways to combine my love of light and my passion for 3d animation/visualization, especially since with a new baby on the way, I'd rather not spend months away from home as I do now. If I ever get that worked out, I'll be almost as happy as I could be.

    Damn, that was;dr : I've loved lights since I was a baby. It's what I do now as a career. And I'm paid pretty well. Absolutely worth it.
  3. Innovator82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    Damn that was inspiring!

    I admire your balls to change from the "safe" major to do what you love. I think a lot of people THINK about doing that but never have the guts to do it. Props to you for doing it and it looks like it worked out awesome! I envy you man and hope that will happen to me.

    Anybody else have any stories to share?

    Also what are your thoughts on doing what you love in this bad economy? Is it better to be safe and keep your job?
  4. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    My dream is to be a billionaire. I'm following my dream. I'm just $999,999,900 short. I know I'll make it! ;) :rolleyes: :D
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    That is a fantastic, simply wonderful, life-affirming post; just brilliant and an absolute pleasure to read. Well done.

    My own remarks will not be as long, save to mention that I always loved reading, writing, and history (and, more recently, current affairs), and travelling, and somehow, I have been lucky enough to have managed to find professional fulfillment - most of the time.

    It's a long story, but I have managed to spend most of my working life as a teacher of history and politics at a number of different universities, - the idea that people would pay me to talk about and research and publish the stuff that really interested me struck me as one of the most amazing things and civilised ideas I had ever come across; I could hardly believe it. Indeed, I still remember my delighted stupefaction when I taught my first class over twenty years ago at the thought that I was getting paid to talk about the stuff I wanted to talk about anyway......and did talk about, endlessly, in pubs, coffee-shops, etc.

    Besides that, I have also worked as a public servant and I have spent quite some time in a professional capacity working in a number of the countries which most fascinated yes, it has been interesting.

    My thoughts on doing what you love in this "bad" economy are the same as my thoughts in the 1980s (another "bad" time). Do it. There are few pleasures greater than having a spring in your step as you go into work, light of heart and easy of gait, where the work is interesting, and the colleagues supportive.

    Needless to say, to get that and an excellent income rarely happens, so I think one must prioritise one's needs; for me, I'd prefer a pleasant environment and stimulating job; money is not my god, and, if necessary I will have two or three part-time jobs (and have done so in the past...)

    Conversely, there are few greater hells on the planet than to have to go to a job, or face a boss, or a work environment, that you cannot stand, irrespective of income (I've been there, too; it's awful, as anyone who has been though it will know; an excellent income cannot really compensate for that, to my mind. Others may well disagree, and please feel free to do so).

    Yes, a lot of the time, what I did as a teacher was not exceptionally well-paid, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it and loved going to work, preparing and teaching my classes, researching stuff, and meeting and mentoring students.

    However, to the wider issues and matters raised by the OP, I think it easier to make these decisions if one is not constrained by other commitments (family, children, financial obligations, etc.....) I think it is better to be safe and keep your job only if the job is okay, or excellent; if it is hell on earth, then, well, it is an endurance test simply to face into it each Monday; I'm not sure security and a regular salary can compensate for what may be a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach. At the end of the day, it depends on what one's trade-offs actually are....

  6. samiwas macrumors 68000

    Aug 26, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks guys! :eek: dream is to NOT be a billionaire. I'm living the dream!

    No seriously, I have no desire to have that kind of money. It only brings problems with it. My only desire moneywise is to make enough to live comfortably or a little better, and get to the point where I don't have to worry about it anymore. No desire for a garage full of exotic cars, multiple mansions, etc.
  7. (marc) macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2010
    the woods
    +1. I never understood the appeal of big money.
  8. Shrink macrumors G3


    Feb 26, 2011
    New England, USA
    A very sensible and reasonable approach. :)

    Clearly, I was kidding. When I was in grad school, and essentially broke, my officemates and I used to discuss how much money we would like to earn when we had our degrees. We agreed we wanted to make ********** y** money; i.e. just enough to be able to say FU to anyone who wanted to control our practices.
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6


    Mar 22, 2008
    On tenterhooks
    Tiny penis. Low self-esteem. Evil bastard. Etc.

    Take your pick, or post your own.
  10. Smallville macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2004
    'Doing what you love' shouldn't be blindly followed either. Make sure you can do more than live paycheck-to-paycheck. I'm learning this the hard way because I didn't do my homework before I jumped into a major life decision years ago.

    I always wanted a career in writing or publishing. It may be great for those who are insanely talented or can catch a lot of breaks. But for the majority of us, we're mediocre, and getting published means working for crappy wages at podunk newspapers.

    So what that I'm in my early 30s and haven't cracked $30,000 a year? I'm doing what I love.

    So what that I took out $40,000 in student loans for a career that pays less than a fast-food manager? I'm doing what I love.

    So what that every vacation I take is to the couch, because that's all I can afford after rent, utilities, groceries, car payment and medical premiums? I'm doing what I love!

    So what if I'm bouncing the checking account every month because of that unexpected expense of back surgery? I'm doing what I love!

    So what that there isn't enough money left over to save for retirement? I'm doing what I love!

    Now, I don't love it anymore. I'm burned out and looking for a new career in a field that will pay a respectable wage.
  11. Dagless, Sep 5, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011

    Dagless macrumors Core


    Jan 18, 2005
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    I'm doing what I want to do.
    I've been a hobbyist game dev since age 6(ish, nothing tangible at that age just experiments). Graduated 3 years ago and didn't get anywhere with developing games. Got so fed up with it that I was about to go into teaching.

    And as I was about to enrol wouldn't you know it... I got an email from a publishing company - "we'd like to discuss things" which became "we'd like to make you an offer". Inbetween those 2 quotes I won a place at an expo, free of charge because of the quality of my game, I signed up with the biggest online distributor and sold part of my unfinished game to another developer that I'm now co-producing. All whilst the glowing reviews and other offers came rolling in!

    I just stuck to what I always wanted to do! I had the energy and skillset to push it into existence.
  12. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    i went self employed so now i just do whatever i like, ok i dont get rich with it , i can live from it and most important for me i am my own boss , so i make the rules , i feel happy about it and you cant compensate happiness with money , trust me on that

    just live your dream
  13. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2008
    You really shouldn't let money guide you. When I was younger I thought money was very important and I am also from a family where money is a measure of success. However, I tried my hand at well-paying internships and jobs only to find that the money meant nothing if the job itself didn't stimulate me. So now I am pursuing what I actually want to do and while it sometimes seems like an uphill climb, this is my one life to live and I'd hate growing old regretting not doing what I wanted. Also, sometimes its equally helpful finding out what you don't love to do. If there is a sector you're interested in, try your hardest to land an internship or a summer job so you can judge for yourself if that is an environment you could see yourself working in long term. Good luck!
  14. Innovator82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    Another inspiring post! I think a lot of us have that fantasy of being paid to talk about what we enjoy, me included, but nowadays, student loans are so high, it's hard to get the qualifications needed.

    Props to you for actually finding that something instead of being a cog in a machine. It's stories like this that still give me hope.
  15. Huntn macrumors P6


    May 5, 2008
    The Misty Mountains
    I see this is a revived post, but since I just retired I'll comment although it will be of minimal value. :)

    When I was 8 years old, my parents took me out to National Airport (DCA) to look at brand new Eastern 727's from the observation deck. I saw people in the cockpits wearing white shirts, epilets, and black ties. It was decided there and then. :)

    What was it like? Fun, but challenging. I got sick several times when I first started flying lessons.
    Hows the money? Excellent, although pay has been sliding since the 1970's.
    Was it worth it? Absolutely, although it involved being gone half the month for the last 26 years and several years of commuting to work. Not driving 20 miles, but flying 900 miles to start a trip.

    Wanting to start as a new commercial pilot today is an iffy proposition. It's very expensive to be trained, the industry is turbulent, you can end up in a crap company who wants to pay you peanuts, and many pilots have experienced what I'd call a professional nightmare with multiple layoffs and starting over at the bottom of the pay scale at a new companies.

    As far as discovering what you want to do, for me it was luck and for whatever reason, flying appealed to me. But if luck fails you, there is also experience and investigation, seeking a profession that you love doing, but just as importantly pays well. You may start out loving it, but living comfortably will trump love eventually if the job does not pay. There are ways to approach it. See a guidance councilor, take aptitude tests, read up on different professions, and hope to goodness you'll find something that catches your fancy and pays well.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    The older I get the more it makes sense to do what you like. Sure you could follow the dollar signs and get a job or a career that pays big bucks but the demands of those jobs are such that you have to sacrifice so much else that if you don't love it, you'll be miserable.

    I have an accounting degree and was moving into that area and while I do like accounting I found that the long hours and weekend work was such that I opted out of that career path.

    I chose computers, programming and maintaining servers. I still work weekends and nights but its doing something I really like.
  17. ejb190 macrumors 65816


    I followed the path as it was laid in front of me. It has involved going in one direction only to find myself taking a few unexpected branches as I went along. Along this path, I have been fired, I have battled depression, I have had a few tremendous successes and accolades.

    I have done very little backtracking, but the odd thing is I can see my career path coming full circle, ending where I had hoped to start. And each step along the way has brought people and opportunities into my life that prepared me more fully to make the most of that career that I had hoped to start in. I still have a few more steps to take. If I don't get there, I'll be content with what I have done. But on the other hand, I have a decade or so to get there, so I'm not worried. I have enjoyed the path I have been down
  18. heehee macrumors 68020


    Jul 31, 2006
    Same country as Santa Claus
    I'm in my mid 30s and I haven't found what I love to do. I might as well make a ton of money and retire early.

    "Money can't buy happiness but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable." :p
  19. Innovator82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2011
    There was this famous director that said something I wouldn't forget. Something along the lines of "We're all going to die anyways so you might as well go for it."

    He saw his father live the safe life and die with regrets.

    I think as long as you can make enough to pay the bills, save, and enjoy the finer things of life (like Apple products :)), then that's enough. That's the sweet spot.
  20. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Interesting to see that you have returned to a thread you yourself started some years ago.

    What are your thoughts now on the topic? Have they changed, or evolved? Or did you manage to find a place where your talents, or interests, are acknowledged, recognised and rewarded?

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