If You Love What You Do You Never Have To Work
I hereby confirm that this post was not written under any duress. In fact, I came up with the title and idea myself. Why? I just want to show that yes, it is possible to enjoy your job. We see these optimistic statements like “love what you do”, “if you love what you do you never have to work a day in your life” and so on, but many people shrug them off as unrealistic. Let me show you why it is realistic…
From The Beginning
I was born to an immigrant family and was an only child for a good eight years, and yes, when I said from the beginning, I meant the beginning of beginnings, but I promise it’s relevant, so hang in there! Since my parents were immigrants, I didn’t have any cousins around either. So, no siblings and no cousins; what about friends? You see, we moved around very often so I was continuously the new kid that had to adapt and make new friends constantly. Long story short, I was alone a lot; so, my mom would buy CD ROMs of the educational game JumpStart for me to play while also learning (sneaky, sneaky). I didn’t even realize at the time that I was learning. To me when I got to play these games it was the highlight of my day and just playing, not learning…or so I thought.
Finding The Right Job
So, that kid that loved those eLearning games grew up, graduated from university, and started working, jumping from one job to the next: from video editing to journalism, then marketing and HR. There was one thing in common with all these jobs: they all made me miserable, which makes me appreciate my current eLearning job that much more. After the first few jobs, I gave up and thought that’s just what work is: it isn’t something fun, it’s work. Then I decided to pursue a master’s degree in educational technology, as a last attempt. To my surprise, I finally found what I was looking for (shout out to my favorite professor, Dr. Guenia, who showed me what an awesome learning experience looks like)! I interned at an eLearning company during my master’s program to get real-life experience on the job, and I just loved it that much more. Not to say that other jobs are necessarily bad, it’s just everyone has a passion (even if they don’t know it yet), and those who get to pursue their passion are lucky. I consider myself lucky.
The Epiphany During My eLearning Job
I was recently having nostalgic childhood memories about those games when I realized that they were eLearning games, and there was a whole team behind them who worked with Subject Matter Experts, designed the learning experience, and developed the games. I realized that my eLearning job title now is what would have created those games that I loved so much, and which helped me excel and learn without even knowing it. That is what learning experience design is all about: creating learning experiences that make the learner want to learn instead of have to learn as if it’s a burden. You see, sometimes a kid might love a subject because of the way their teacher taught it; likewise, a kid might dislike a subject because the learning experience is not learner-centric and engaging.
The Benefits Of My eLearning Job
Typically, when we say work benefits, people think of things like healthcare, monetary benefits, pensions, etc. While these are important, if you ask me about the top five benefits I value in my job, they would be the priceless ones, including:
1. Compatible Values
I believe in the same values as the company I work at, which include equality, honesty, taking initiative, supporting others, making learning inclusive, creating enjoyable learning experiences for others, problem-solving, and creating tailored learning solutions. Most importantly, valuing employees as humans who have families which they need to put first. You should not feel like a burden for being pregnant or being a mom, nor should it get in the way of work. It is a beautiful part of life that should be embraced. For example, I can work with my baby by my side, whether in the office or at home, without worrying about my baby all day.
I hate being micromanaged, so what I love about my job is the opportunity to organize my own tasks and time, doing things my way. Of course, mistakes will happen; we are humans who make mistakes, but we take responsibility for these mistakes, and learn, and grow from them. Many companies have the idea that remote employees may be sitting around not working, which makes them feel anxious since they can’t see them and micromanage them. (Read more: Positive Effects of Adopting Flexibility at Work)
I value the opportunity to think outside the box and creatively. Our job is to create tailored solutions depending on client needs. So, one size definitely does not fit all. More often than not, we need to find work-around solutions for different types of constraints. This makes every project unique and requires creativity and problem-solving skills.
My global and diverse colleagues! We spend a good chunk of time with our colleagues, so if it is not enjoyable it will take away from the overall positive work experience. Usually, a company hires talents within their geographical area or would require the talent to move to their area, but why should a company limit their talent pool to a geographic area when they can hire anyone, anywhere, expanding their options to find the right fit? While the main office of the company I work for is in Lebanon, I work remotely from a different country and many members of the team live elsewhere, such as in Egypt, Turkey, Canada, France, and Germany. It’s a win-win situation, for both the company and the team.
5. Routine, Or The Absence Thereof
As mentioned above, every project is unique, with a tailored solution as per the learner and client needs. Also, every project is completely different in terms of the material and subject matter. Working with different Subject Matter Experts on a wide range of topics each time ensures things are never boring. As learning experience designers, we learn a lot on every project we undertake, because we need to understand the topic first before we can deliver it to the learner in a simplified and engaging way. As a result, we get the chance to engage with a wide range of Subject Matter Experts and therefore become knowledgeable on a wide range of topics!
Now you are going to tell me: “Wow Sharin, that sounds too good to be true, is it really euphoria over there?” Yes, I love my job and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It goes without saying that it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies; misunderstandings are bound to happen, and there are challenges we face daily, but what is life without a challenge?
“We don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges.” – Anonymous. It makes the win that much more worthwhile! Happiness in the workplace really can stimulate productivity!
Credits By Author:
I want to give credit to those who supported me during my journey, in chronological order:
- My mom
For getting me into eLearning without even knowing it, through eLearning games.
- My dad
Who supported and encouraged me to get a master’s in educational technology.
- Dr. Guenia
Who created an enjoyable learning experience throughout the master’s program.
- My husband
Who drove me to my internship interview and has rooted for me since.
The LXD director who supported me during my internship and to this day.
The managing director who always encourages me to think outside the box and take ownership.
- The team
Including the partners Hassan, Ruba, and Raneem for standing by my side like family during some of my most difficult times. It also includes my colleagues for providing a supportive, non-toxic, and enjoyable work experience.
- My baby
For literally always being by my side, my cute little work companion.
— A proud learning experience designer