‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ (Confucius)

Habits of Mind: Persisting

British employees will averagely work for 34 hours and 26 minutes a week, adding up to a total of 1,795 hours a year, and 84,365 hours over a lifetime. And of course many work significantly more hours. That is a great deal of time to be doing something you may not like much, or towards which you feel indifferent.

Confucius offers great advice but it’s not always that simple and it can be both difficult to figure out what we actually love, and how that might translate into a viable job and career that pays the bills. And there will be times when that may have to take priority.

First of all then we need to think about what we actually love, which can be more difficult than it might first seem. However, unless we have a grasp of our preferred destination, we have little hope of finding the sort of occupation which will satisfy us.   

The Philosopher Alain de Botton writes that the clues to our true passions often lie in looking back to our childhood where they may be visible in embryonic form. And I can see this in my own children, so that the young dinosaur enthusiast has become a research scientist; the computer gamer works in computing; and the enthusiastic musician continues to be an older enthusiastic musician and makes money where he can! Looking at where our motivations lie and where they intersect with our strengths and competencies can lead us in the right direction.


It is also important in the words of Socrates to ‘know thyself’, in terms of our personality types so that we seek work environments in which we may best flourish. And although it may be tempting to encourage our children down certain paths, we must always be mindful they are not our own unlived lives.

In the next few weeks Wychwood pupils will be confirming option choices for next year’s GCSEs and A Levels. This is an exciting prospect and perhaps the first time they have really thought about their preferred future destinations. However, what is certain is that they will need first to persist in their studies through diligent work in order that one day they might follow the advice of Confucius to ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’

Christine Crossley