If you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.
This is a famous line that has been attributed to Mark Anthony and many others. Whoever said it, I believe it. I’ve been a customer service expert since I started my career out of college, and I love what I do. Looking back, I can identify exactly when I knew customer service was important to me. More on that in a moment.
The saddest thing is that I have seen people who hate their jobs compared to others who love their careers. Maybe that’s a good way to look at it, a job versus a career. A job is working for money. A career is a lifetime endeavor, ideally something you love and are passionate about.
I googled “job versus career” and found some interesting definitions and descriptions. One I particularly liked came from Officevibe and said, “Jobs bring you paychecks. Careers give you experience.
I’m not saying that if your passion isn’t in alignment with your job, you quit. You still need to eat. However, if you can find a way to do what you love even 10-20% of the time, you will find tremendous fulfillment in your work that will start to feel more like a career. For example, Google offers its engineers the opportunity to dedicate approximately one day of the week to a business project of their own design. Google knows people will be more productive when they’re working on something they’re personally dedicated to.
The fact is, if even a small part of what you love to do is in your job, you’ll be much happier than those who work just for a paycheck, not really enjoying what they do.
Some people are very lucky and find what they want to do early in life, sometimes when they are children. For example, as a little girl, my daughter has always loved to cook, and now she works for a celebrity chef in New York. And my son started playing guitar when he was a teenager and today he’s a recording artist in Nashville. A friend of mine loved working on cars when he was a teenager. Today, he buys and sells exotic cars.
I was young when I developed my passion for customer service. I had no idea that one day I would be traveling the world working with clients on their customer service strategies. I can trace the beginning of this interest to my first business, when I was just 12 years old and started a magic show business for birthday parties.
My parents taught me valuable lessons including showing up on time, saying thank you, following up for feedback, and more. These are the tenets of good customer service in most businesses. It’s common sense. And while those were important lessons, I don’t think that’s what fueled my true passion for creating a career in customer service and customer experience.
That moment came about eight years later, when I was in college and working part-time at a gas station. It was a self-service gas station where you collected the customer’s money outside at the pump. Pay-at-the-pump technology with a credit card was still too new and expensive for our station.
On the coldest day of the year (-8 degrees Fahrenheit), an elderly customer arrived. I offered to pump her gas so she wouldn’t have to get out of the car. After paying I went inside where my manager was waiting. He yelled at me for pumping gas from him. I argued that the lady, who was one of our regular customers, was at least 80 years old, and that seemed like the right thing to do.
He said, “Now she’s going to expect that the next time she comes back.”
I replied, “I hope she comes back instead of going to the two gas stations across the street.” He glared at me and stormed out of the building.
I knew I was right. And, I liked the way it felt. In addition, I helped elderly people to pump their gasoline for the rest of the day.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was a watershed moment. This fueled my desire to take care of clients in the various jobs I held from then on, until I finally decided, less than a year out of college, to become a lecturer. principal of customer service and traveling the world teaching people how to create a better customer experience.
If you look back at your personal and professional history, there is often something that happened that defined the course of your work. For some, it was the first job they did after school. Ideally, they enjoyed this career-defining work, but for some it was just a means to an end, to earn a living to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
Maybe you were lucky enough at a young age to find your passion and turn it into a career. But even years into your professional life, you can find your passion and discover what you love to do. It can happen at any time. The key is to recognize it, build on that insight, and find a way to incorporate it into what you do or, ideally, replace what you do.
And when you do that, you might have found your perfect job!