Last month I was in Alaska helping a friend with his dream project. He had long dreamed of taking one of his Bering Sea crab boats and converting it into a tourist attraction. In the past 6 years his dream has become the number one shore excursion for all major cruise lines in Alaska.
Tourists coming to Alaska have the chance to get on board a real crab boat from the TV Series ‘Deadliest Catch’ and participate in catching all types of sea life.
Seeing my friend’s passion for this project made me think about why some people genuinely love their jobs while others despise what they do. Then something happened …
While I was hosting a tour on the F/V Aleutian Ballad, a little girl, maybe 6 years old, came up to me, eyes wide with anticipation and asked, “can we catch an octopus, please! I’ve never seen an octopus.” I told her that if she held a crab for me, I would catch an octopus for her. Although hesitant at first, she extended her hand with earnest eyes and gave me a firm hand shake in agreement.
Toward the end of the tour, I could tell she was getting nervous we had yet to catch an octopus. As we began pulling in our final line, she leaned forward in anticipation. I knew there was an octopus inside the moment I landed the trap. Looking at her, I slowly opened the trap to prolong the anticipation. At this point the show was about her and not the 120 other passengers on board. When I removed the lid to the trap, I looked at her and smirked, as to signal it was something special.
I jumped into the trap head first and pretended I was being attacked; shouting and rolling around, I shook my legs like something was eating the face off my skull. When I emerged from the trap I pulled out with me a 70 pound Giant Pacific Octopus!
She lit up like a kid on Christmas morning and ran towards me. With no fear and eyes shining, she got close and touched the world’s largest octopus species.
When it was time for everyone to leave, she calmly waited for everyone to get done shaking my hand and approached me. She said, in the cutest little kid voice, “thank you for catching me an octopus“, then reached out her hand to offer me her gratitude in the form of a single skittle.
This was better than any payment I could have received. This is what made me feel truly rich and it reminded me why I love what I do.
Let’s say you love scuba diving, you love it so much you want to do it every day. You do your schooling, get your credentials and begin working with a dive shop. Everything is great at first, but as time goes on you get tired of doing the same things over and over. The people around you begin to irritate you and before long diving is no fun. Every time you think about diving, you get a nauseous feeling in your core! You just took something you loved and turned it into work!
When I go crab fishing in the Bering Sea, one of the most brutal jobs in the world, I go because I love it. I look at crab fishing as my vacation from the ordinary and magically one of the toughest jobs on the planet turns into a motivating and challenging vacation.
Another example is when I made my first book, Deadliest Waters. I am not a great writer and rarely do I enjoy sitting down and writing, so I chose something I had fun with and that was photography.
Even then, I had problems focusing on the creation, mainly because I was financing the project and it was a new industry to me. The only thing I could do was remove the “work” and forget the money, leaving only the fun. Once I did that, it all came together and when the book was released, I made all my money back plus what I originally anticipated.
So how do we identify work? Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you wake up every morning and dread going to work?
- Do you stare at the clock, wishing it would go by faster?
- Do you cringe at the thought of having to do your tasks?
- Why did you take the job in the first place? Was it the money?
Does that sound like you? It might, because over 70% of employees in America hate their jobs.
Why do so many people hate their jobs? In America we live in this little bubble, a bubble of standards and mind sets that are drilled into us from birth. We are taught at an early age that money equals success and you must be successful.
In order to be successful you must go to school, get a degree, get a job, move into a career and make as much money as you can before you die. People are expected to not like working, it’s all around us in advertising, in movies and even within our families. So changing your mind set can be very difficult.
As we know, money is a tool, just like any other, and must be thought of as so. When you take a job, it doesn’t mean you are sentenced to stay. If, for some reason, you feel the job isn’t for you or you’re not happy, move on. There are plenty of things to do in the world to keep busy and make money, too many not to find something you enjoy. But don’t panic, you don’t have you change your job, just your mind!
Focus on what you like about your job, if you can’t think of anything good then you are in dire need of a perspective change. I’d recommend taking a look at the rest of the world and the less fortunate to put into perspective the things you can be grateful for.
If that still doesn’t do it, you’re doing the wrong job – Take a few career tests and read the results with an open mind. They are by no means an end-all-be-all but they can give you some starting points. That should be a last resort.
Always remember, it could be worse! When you start to feel like you hate your job, remember, you could always be a manual sewer cleaner in Bangladesh!
The real struggle is breaking free of negativity. You will always find something wrong if you’re looking for it. A great way to do that is to focus on things that make your work enjoyable. When something negative comes up, don’t ask for details and don’t get involved unless you must.
If your thought process doesn’t change, it’s only a matter of time before that negativity consumes your life and affects everything you do. Working is a quest for money; living is a quest for happiness.
The money will come if you do what you love…
So how do we get rich and never work again? Easy, make work your new play time and don’t worry about the money.
What do you think about work and happiness? Please leave a comment and share your tips for enjoying work so we can all learn from each other!