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Life at Perficient

Don’t Follow Your Passion: A Radical Approach to Happiness

I manage social media for Perficient, but I have a secret to share with you.
I’m not a millennial.
I wasn’t born with a smart phone in my hand and I was an early adopter of Friendster.
So how did I end up here, in a job that is completely rooted in technologies that didn’t exist when I was preparing for my future?
Don't Follow Your PassionAs with all great road-trips, I didn’t take the freeway and drive in a straight line to get where I’m at today. I took many different roads and explored many different destinations. Sometimes the road hit a dead-end. Sometimes I chose to exit even though I had no idea where the road would lead. I had a map, but it was outdated. Many of the roads that I took hadn’t been built when the map was made. I chose to take those roads anyway. They looked fun. My road trip has never had a destination in mind. It still doesn’t. The trip IS the destination.
Many books have been written about finding your passion and I used to agree with that principle until I read the book, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” by Cal Newport. The premise of the book is that you love your work when you begin to master skills. It’s fun to do things that you are good at.
The learning curve can be challenging and frustrating, but the learning is where the growth comes in. Growth leads to skills that can provide you a lifetime of happiness.
“The key thing is to force yourself through the work, force the skills to come; that’s the hardest phase.” – Ira Glass
My objective was never to become the Digital and Social Media Marketing Manager for Perficient. When I started college neither digital nor social media existed. I did, however, start my career in media, at a radio station in Chicago. At every position, I picked up new skills. When I was presented with opportunities to learn new things, I always said yes. There have been (and will continue to be) days where I am mentally exhausted from learning. And then it gets easier and easier. And I get happier and happier.
It’s called the craftsman mindset. Whereas the passion mindset focuses on what the world can offer you, the craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world.
You have gifts that I could only dream of having. Are you good at design? Are you a great storyteller? Are you a problem solver?
Ask yourself what skills you have that you can offer the world. Build on those skills and then share them.
Perficient is extremely supportive in helping me to build my skills every day. I’m able to do that through formal training, but also through daily challenges that fall on my desk.
I’ve mastered many skills and I’m learning many more.
And I’m happy.

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Sharon Suchoval

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