The Bureau of Labor Statistics says we might hold ELEVEN different jobs in our lifetime. Makes me tired just thinking about it!
Is this troubling for you? Some people thrive on change, and there is some neuroscience research to support that “novel” experiences stimulate the continued growth of the brain. Dr. William K. Larkin at thepositivemindblog.com says, “What you want is a ‘personal unfolding’ that will take you significantly in the direction that allows your potential to emerge over time. The greater the direction and its detail, the greater the desire – and great desire will change everything.”
So how does this apply to how many jobs you will have in your lifetime? If Dr. Larkin is right, personal unfolding, experiencing change, and seeking direction builds desire in our lives, and desire leads to flow.
I first encountered the idea of flow in a game design research book called Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World by Jane McGonigal. Flow really describes those moments when you lose yourself in what you are doing.
Here, I believe, it is in Scripture:
“Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil-this is a gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 5:19
I think many people interpret “accept their lot” and “be happy in their toil” as a passive acceptance: work is no fun. The truth is though, you are not trapped in a job you hate, you can move into a job you love, but it takes courage and toil!
In career coaching terms, what you do that puts you in flow describes your passion. The struggle is, and here’s where it gets interesting, finding a job with flow is hard work! So we choose a job we are not passionate about as our vocation because it seems “safe” and our hobbies are where we get into flow. Thus the ELEVEN jobs. A work-life without flow makes one restless and grumpy. Trust me.
Eleven jobs. Will any of them produce flow in your life? Here are some questions to help you think about where you should start on your quest for a job with flow:
- What do you lose yourself doing? Is there a career connected to it?
- What would you love to try, but the risk seems too great?
- What do you love to think about?
- What feels challenging, or you describe as hard, but you love doing?
Unfortunately, as a young adult, you may have little experience beyond childhood pleasures that produce flow. Or you may be distracted by a lifestyle that seeks pleasure above all else. Pleasure is different than flow, because flow often grows out of overcoming an obstacle, solving a problem, or finishing a puzzle. Ask God to show you how you can “be happy in your toil” because that is where flow hides!