People work for several reasons. Probably for most, the most fundamental reason is pay. In most societies, we need income to buy goods and services. In the current economy there are many who just want a job, any job, that can put a roof over their heads and food on the table. Beyond that, we are social animals. We need other people. The workplace can be like a second family, functional or dysfunctional. We find part of our identity in what we do in our jobs. For some it can also provide a sense of our place in community, a perception of status.
We seek the best person-job match we can given our economic situation. For some the dream is that paycheck and the resources just to enjoy life. In hiring, employers should provide realistic job previews. But in my opinion it comes down to organizational leadership. Not just at the top but at every level. From first line supervisors to CEOs, leaders should actively listen, translate the company vision, and create a culture to which people want to belong. For some their lives in these organizations will fulfill, or potentially fulfill dreams. But for others, that is not enough.
What if you have a dream? What if you want to create a business, pursue another career? Then you do what you can do within the reality of your situation. Sometimes leadership can play a role here also -- opportunities and support. I am reminded of a man I know who worked in the construction business. It was a paycheck. He was a fine worker but his dream was to be a writer. He wrote in the morning before going to work. He wrote at night. He wrote on weekends. He did this for five years. Eventually he sold his first article to a national magazine. He decided to take the plunge. He told the owner of the construction company that he was taking off six months to pursue his dream of being a writer. He would appreciate it if should he fail, six months from now there would a job somewhere for him in the construction company. The owner replied, "Have you figured out how much money you need to get by each month." "About $1000." The owner thought and then said, "If you fail, your job will still be here for you. In the meantime, you are still on the payroll at $1000 a month. I wish you success, but if not we will be glad to have you back." He did not go back. Today this man is an award-winning author whose dreams came true -- supported by a humanistic leader, one who truly cared about his employees.
My opinion: If you follow what you love long enough and hard enough, a path may become clear. Along that path, you may discover what you want to pursue. It may involve activities in your workplace job, or how you spend your evenings and weekends. It may take more education -- or more networking. It may take sacrifices. And this path may lead to a road. You will be able to see it. The journey becomes a passion. You can feel it in your veins. But without actions, the passion dies or lies dormant. And we go about our lives. . . . Dream. . . Act.
Image: copyright Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography,free to use and share, Advanced Google Image Search.