Lately, I read an article in Business Week by a so called expert… in the second sentence the expert made the comment that you should love what you do. Recently, on Good Morning America a reporter was interviewing a very successful owner. She asked him what lead to his success; he stated that he loved his job. Also, he stated that his long time marriage had broken up last year. I just do not believe a first line manager, or anyone, should love their job. Love is a very special human emotion. Love should be reserved for special people in your life, for instance, your spouse and family. I know that a person can love their job. I did. I learned at a early stage in my life that love of a job is a misplaced emotion.
I began working Mr. E in 1970, starting as a motel night auditor, managed two restaurants, and was the General Manager of his new hotel in Birmingham. In 1973, the OPEC oil embargo hit the country, our hotel occupancy went down. Mr. E’s operation manager fired me because as he stated, “Mr. E did not think I could market the hotel”.
There I sat heartbroken, in my tailor made suit, wearing a top brand shirt and tie, and in my one hundred plus dollar shoes. I had just lost my office with the special art work and the special chair I had ordered for me. I was 27 years old and was in love with my job. I had just suffered the loss of the job I had always wanted and had worked so hard to attain. Something was horribly wrong. It would take several years to figure it out. But I did.
I would never love a job again, a job that could be snatched from me on someone’s personal whim. A job that I could be demoted from because of a personal reason. In both instances, no one would come to consult me as to how I felt about the decision, or to get my input. I did not own a job, so it truly, was not mine. No, I would never love a job again.
Now what? I would make sure I was doing something I found joy in doing. That was it. Find joy in my job. Why is joy different than love? Here is my explanation. When you loose a love one it goes to your heart, they are irreplaceable. Joy is a feeling of the mind and we can replace it. Take for instance, Emily and I go to the beach, we sit and watch the sunset. We take joy in the experience. The Sun goes down and there we sit, we know that tomorrow we can experience the same joy watching the sun set. Joy is repeatable. Love is not.
My job is like a beautiful sunset; I take joy in performing it. Should I lose my job, I will try to find another job I can have joy performing. Joy is transferable. Love is not.