"The test of whether people love what they do is whether they'd do it even if they weren't paid for it-- even if they had to work at another job to make a living. How many corporate lawyers would do their current work if they had to do it for free, in their spare time, and take day jobs as waiters to support themselves?"
It's hard to find work you love; it must be, if so few do. So don't underestimate this task. And don't feel bad if you haven't succeeded yet. In fact, if you admit to yourself that you're discontented, you're a step ahead of most people, who are still in denial. If you're surrounded by colleagues who claim to enjoy work that you find contemptible, odds are they're lying to themselves. Not necessarily, but probably.
One thing that I am 100% sure: I would definitely love to study new programming languages all day and toy around with all their advanced features. I wonder what kind of job or research area this would lead to? Playing around with languages is fun, but it is even more fun when you have a real problem to solve that just fits particularly well with that language. For instance, doing low level embedded systems programming just fits nicely with what C is for. Also, for doing quick programs to sieve through all the prime numbers, nothing beats Ruby or Python.
I guess the perfect job for me to do would be one where we will be using all the different kinds of programming languages and creating a complete system with them. I guess that is why I am so against the idea of using just one kind of language to do everything. Or to say it more clearly, I hate it when what you have to do is just so tied down to a particular programming language or technology. In fact, if you think that there is indeed a grand unified programming language/tool/technology out there, then you are most probably subscribing to the Golden Hammer anti-pattern.
As Graham says, the first step to knowing what you love to do might be to actually discover what you do not like and quickly move away from it. Sticking around with something you do not like will not make you like it in the long run. However, it will probably, at best, render you neutral about something. And when you are neutral about something, that is the worst scenario possible. Not only do you not hate it anymore that you are going to change it, but you also do not love it enough to use it properly. And then you begin to become another common office drone. Kathy Sierra did make another post about sticking on the fence as the zone of mediocrity
So for me, to actually know what you hate or love to do for that matter is to make sure that you have some opinion on it. Hating it is good because you can eliminate it from your list of things you want to do (or maybe just push it back to the very far end for consideration later). Loving it is good since you can quickly bring it to the front of the queue for further evaluation. Not having an opinion for things is bad since it makes you another herd follower.Tweet
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