Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Learn to be great at what you do

Do you like what you do for a living? do you love it? Does it matter?

A middle aged guy at the counter in a grocery store carefully carries his broken hand immobilized in a plaster. I see him there almost every time I shop. He smiles, talks to me about something irrelevant, does a decent job bagging with one hand. I help him out. He notices a nice new dress on my baby daughter, lets her push all buttons on the credit card terminal. We all enjoy the experience... I don't know if he loves his job but I am sure he is enjoying it when he's at it.

A guy in his mid 20th is a sensei teaching karate class that my older son goes to. Today there are 8 younglings split into 4 pairs to master their front, round, and side kicks. They alternate. He changes the setup every 5 or so minutes, lets them jump, run, learn new combination, manages to give each kid the attention they deserve, wouldn't let a mistake go unnoticed. The room has glass windows and a door always open so that parents can watch and hear the class. Sensei explains every little thing he does, cracks jokes, looks up at parents every minute or so to engage them more. As a rule he would walk out at the end of each and every class to chat with the parents, say hello and tell how great their kids did in class for those who dropped the kids off and came to pick them up. All while next class is getting ready. Kids, parents, and he himself - everybody enjoys the experience... I don't know if he loves his job but I am sure he is enjoying it when he's at it.

A guy in his 30th is a software architect. Unlike the two guys above he makes a decent money, works flexible hours, enjoys fiber optic internet, can listen to his favorite music all day long. He is not happy, he is arrogant, he does not like his employer, every so often checks his profile on, pushes back, plays devil advocate, dictate his rules, everybody around him knows he believes he deserves better. He thinks he loves his job.


You love your job not when you pamper or indulge it. You truly love it when you enjoy being at it and when you and everybody who you work with have great experience about it. It’s the extent to which you do it and the sincerity with which you do it that makes the difference. Do you love your family or your significant other or do you love them?

You have got to truly love your job to one day become great at it, no matter what you do. And if you're stuck or don't like the setup you ended up in - you change it or move on once you made up your mind. But you never drop the ball in loving your job or you close the door to once become great at it.

Learn to be great at what you do by learning how to love it.


Anonymous said...

Well, may be architect has got a slightly better education and qualification in comparison to folks making $9 per hour? May be his employer makes a bit more money of such "devil advocate"? Surely management would be happy to treat him like guys from a grocery store but still make the same profit.

Pavel Veller said...

It's not about management not treating the more educated guy good enough. It's about your attitude towards what you do and how much it matters to enjoy it or move on to enjoy it someplace else or change to enjoy something else to one day become great at it. I am sure there are great managers in either place who love what they do and are great at it, and are those who are just like that pissed architect. It inevitably affects the environment you work in but being pissed about it and piss off those around you by being pissed does not help you advance in your profession.

Alexander Arendar said...

Some day I'd like to try being a karate sensei as well, should be interesting experience. It's a pity we can enjoy leaving few lives :)