When I interview candidates for open positions at Symmetry Software, I always ask, “What is the perfect job for you?” It’s interesting how few candidates are prepared for that question. If I ask, “What do you do for fun?”, they will rattle off several things that really mean a lot to them when they are trying to relax or unwind. The things you do for fun give a window into who you really are and what you care about deeply.
Strangely enough, may people approach a career as simply an exchange of money for our time during the day. They’ll accept a second-rate job with nothing that keep their interest beyond the predictable paycheck.
We’ve all heard the dreaded question when meeting someone new at a networking function for work or business. “What do you do?” How do you answer that question? Without knowing it, the answer you provide helps the other person determine if your status is meaningful enough for them to continue taking time to know you better. The question is often rooted in the comparison of economic status and not in the desire to really know the other person. Is it enough for two people to develop some kind of working relationship because they both do the same job? Not really!
The “What Do You Do” question reveals that many people are NOT passionate about what they do. A normal week for the typical American starts on Sunday by sleeping in and maybe running errands or hanging out around the house loathing the start of the workweek on Monday. They despise what they do and who they work with and take great pains to drown the week of drudgery with parties on the weekends. What if instead of accepting the question “What do you do?”, we changed it to “What are you passionate about?” This slightly reformatted question shows an interest in the whole person standing before you at that networking event. It also gives you a chance to look inside yourself and see if what you are doing is meaningful to you.
I am accountant by trade, but what I am really passionate about is helping people understand finances. I do this in three ways:
- Through AskCPASam – Help small businesses and non-profit organizations understand how to accurately track their operations. Over the years, I’ve learned that small businesses are built around someone doing something that they are good at or are passionate about, but that they really don’t understand how to keep accurate records. The problem with not keeping good books is that the business can’t last with no idea of what works and what doesn’t in that industry and business. They key? Ask lots of questions, make them think, and do lots of listening before proposing solutions.
- Volunteer on non-profit boards. Churches, school boards, social outreach, etc. These organizations are normally staffed with people passionate about a cause, but really bad with money. This is an area where every dollar counts and cannot be wasted. My work with these companies has helped them stretch their dollars into the maximum benefit possible by better understanding where those dollars are going. In reality, it’s nothing more than accounting again, but with a higher purpose.
- Through Symmetry Software – Be the best accountant possible in the company while spreading the knowledge I’ve learned about accounting, running a business, or career paths through speaking opportunities with other industry groups and educational institutions. I also get to interact with other employees motivating them to be the best they can at their career choice.
As the CEO of Symmetry so often says, you spend more time awake at your job than you do anywhere else. If you don’t enjoy what you do and do it with people that you like, each day will be miserable. Find something you enjoy doing that matches your skill set, or change your mindset about where you are now. Life is too short to not enjoy each day.