When I graduated from college, I cut my teeth working in an 8-5. I’d beaten thousands of other applicants for the position, a prestigious traineeship program with the USDOJ.

I had a tough time acclimating.

It wasn’t so much the hours, though I know many of my colleagues struggled with the early start. It was more the fact that the job, kind of like the hours, was very set. Very defined. There was little purview for creativity or out-of-the-box thinking. But since I had a corner office, a good salary and awesome benefits, most people in my life assured me I’d get used to it. I just had to grow in to…well, grown up life.

For the first few years, I thought it was simply a matter of casting off my juvenile expectations of what working life was supposed to be. But after a while, I realized what the problem really was. It was me.

I didn’t have passion for what I was doing. And since most of my life was spent in the office, that presented a huge problem for me.

Some people are okay with putting in their time, punching the clock and pursuing other things outside of work. But for others, like myself, work/life balance really means finding work that they love. They don’t feel fulfilled without it.

Once I realized that the problem was passion- well, the lack thereof- I had to gather courage to leave a cushy position to cast out for something else. Something more. That took a while.

Once I found my passion, I had to start all over again. I had to work long hours- and not in a corner office with a good salary. I had to learn the fundamentals, which often required little to no creativity or analytical thinking of any sort. But I still loved every minute. That’s how I knew I was where I was meant to be. Now that I’ve worked my way up, and am working much longer, and often earlier, than an 8-5, I still feel passionate about what I do, and therefore love my work and my life. I’m almost always engaged, inspired and excited by my work. Every project is one of passion. (Even at 8am!)

This post is part of our digital marketing specialist’s book of memoirs, Variations on a Theme, to be published in the spring of 2017. 

Khaleelah Jones

Khaleelah Jones is a digital marketing consultant who has worked with tech startups, educational institutions and non-profits on acquisition and engagement strategy, implementation and KPI modeling. When she’s not working, she can be found reading, writing, pontificating history, yoga-ing and making up verbs.
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