The bills are not going to pay themselves!
Recently, during my midweek YouTube saunter, I chanced upon a video titled “How to find out what you’re born to do”. Curious, I clicked on the link, but instead was hit by more agenda-led bullshit than Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’.
Get this. According to the holy video, I’ll know if I’m born to be in a profession if it reflects my passion, aligns with my instincts and quirks, and most importantly, defines my personality. Just like a monogamous relationship. Phew. If the video had a grain of truth, then I am primed to attain instant corporate moksha while spending a third of my life on a creaky chair in an open-plan office. Naturally, I reported the video as misleading.
A generation of millennials like me, has grown up on the belief that if we “do what we love, we’ll never have to work a day in our lives”. Ironic, considering how so many of us cram ourselves into work cultures that need us to be available 24/7. And we do it so sincerely as if our salaries will be miraculously doubled if we worked 16 hours instead of seven.
Sometimes, just to live up to this allure of “finding our true calling”, we flit between totally decent jobs only because they aren’t as cool as we’ve made a “job” out to be in our heads.
But here’s the thing we forget while we’re busy chasing the job that’s supposed to shit rainbows and unicorns: The bills are not going to pay themselves. It’s exactly why I don’t believe in romanticising the idea of a job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying that we should be stuck in jobs that make us unhappy and add nothing to our resume because of the moolah. All I’m saying is that, we’re not always meant to end up doing something that perfectly aligns with our personalities. And why should we to limit our professional growth only because we’ve been taught to be too attached to our comfort zone?
Take me for instance: I’m a 28-year-old socially awkward introvert. I skip parties if more than five people have signed up and pretend to be asleep if my flatmate calls in friends. In my dictionary, chilling involves filling my journal or reading a book and a lit party comprises of me and three friends sitting quietly in a dimly lit room drinking white wine, and occasionally bobbing our heads to Coke Studio classics.
But here’s the clincher: I am also a PR specialist in the country’s largest digital products company. Lucky for me, the job description didn’t demand an extrovert.
As a communications professional, I am tasked with shaping opinion, perception, and reputation for a global company. At the face of it, none of it sounds like my dream job, or one that my personality is aligned to. I mean a job that basically requires me to be the most extroverted person at the table isn’t also the kind of opportunity where I could use my talents… of going a really long time without talking.
As per job stereotypes in millennial wonderland, I should have already handed in my resignation and packed up to go live in the hills to truly find myself by now. But here I am, basking in the afterglow of a fairly productive day. This contradiction has actually been the bedrock of my professional life.
So how does an introvert like me excel at one of the most extroverted jobs around and become the most approachable guy? By exploiting my introverted nature to my advantage.
Allow me to explain. As an introvert, I come with a PhD in listening and unlike extroverts, I know the importance of being able to listen. It is, after all, the easiest way to solve problems and has more of an effect than any amount of networking. And unlike extroverts, I also know when to shut up and hand over the mic to the other person. More than anything, I know best how to recharge and replenish my energy, even in the most damning work environments. I understand that I’m a peculiarity in my line of work and I use it to my advantage. Because as it turns out, all of the things that set me apart as an introvert are the precise things helping me soar.
As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Two years into this whimsical adventure, I’ve learnt one thing: I wasn’t born to do PR. But I sure as hell learnt how to.