Upon meeting someone, instead of asking, "What do you do?" I prefer asking, "What do you love to do?" That always stops people. Their eyes soften, and they smile. "What do I love to do?" Sadly, it usually it has nothing to do with their work.
The problem is that our society does not teach us to value what we really love. It teaches us to value what we are good at. How many people do you know who are really good at their jobs but hate what they do for a living? Think for a moment. It's staggering.
In the last few years, I've become acutely aware of just where the culprit might lie.
My daughter and I have just finished the college slog, and she is off to her freshman year in a matter of weeks. The journey wasn't easy. Over and over again at colleges around the country I heard admissions people with starched shirts and neat scarves shooting what felt to me like verbal bullets to a room full of prospective students, such as "Who here is good at math? Raise your hand."
Half the room would groan. Half would raise their hands.
"Okay — for those of you with raised hands, you might want to declare Accounting as your major. Accounting majors are guaranteed jobs out of college."
Is that what college is for? Getting a job?
A job is a good thing, of course, but college is about something deeper. It should teach you how to think. It should help you learn what you can't stand. It is about stretching your mind in ways you never thought you could and coming out the other side ready to fly into the unknowns of life with some level of confidence and better yet, wonder.
Every single time I witnessed this What-are-you-good-at-raise-your-hand assault on our college-bound youth, I wanted to stand up, Oz-like, and say, "Ignore the person on the stage. It's not what you are good at. It's what you love. If you are lucky enough to have both, good for you!"
Laura Munson, Writing in The Week