#16: Passion

What does it mean to have passion for what you do?  I’ve always thought that you are doing what you love when you would do it for free.  If all of your bills were paid and money was no object, would you still do what you do?  The Life is Good motto, “Do What You Like, Like What You Do” comes to mind.

There have been times in this field where I’ve practically lived in my car and didn’t have enough money to do anything but pay the bills.  Right now I’m doing fairly well and enjoying life but next year I could be scraping by.  You never know what the next field season will bring.  That is passion.  Doing a job, not because it pays well, or even just pays the bills, but because you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else.

When I was in the Navy I was an aviation electronics technician for an EA-6B squadron.    I enjoyed the work and went home satisfied that I’d done a good job for my squadron and my country.  One time I uncovered a major problem during a routine inspection.  If it had remained unfound the problem could have resulted in the loss of four lives on the next flight.  That is the definition of job satisfaction and I spent time in other pursuits searching for it in the private sector.

One of my division Chiefs told me something that has guided my career decision making ever since. He told me to look around at the people that have been doing what I am doing for their entire lives.  Are they where I want to be?  Is my career progression going to take me to where I want to be?

That question that I ask myself constantly is the reason I decided to leave the electronics world as a civilian and the reason I decided to leave the commercial aviation program I was in at the University of North Dakota.  I looked at the people that were 20 to 30 years down the road from me and realized that I didn’t want to be there.  

The most important thing is that for two of my past careers there were only a couple of places that I could possibly end up at the end of a career.  There were not many paths to be chosen.

I think that is what I love most about archaeology.  When I look at where I could be in 20 to 30 years and beyond it’s difficult to imagine something in particular.  I could be the PI at a CRM company, running my own company, writing, consulting, hosting a show on Discovery (yeah right!), or just retired and volunteering on digs.  The possibilities are endless.

If I won the lottery tomorrow (I hear odds of winning greatly increase if you actually play.  I’ll have to look into that.) I would likely quit my job.  I wouldn’t get out of archaeology, however.  I would focus on application development and on bringing more technology and efficiency to CRM.  I would likely open my own technology based CRM company and hire the best in the business to help make CRM more efficient and scientific.

Our clients hate us.  We do nothing but cost them money and cause delays.  I can understand that.  If we can make our work more efficient and therefore more cost effective then maybe there would be fewer headaches on all sides.  That’s what I would do.  

I’d also like to write more.  There are books for shovelbums that need to be written.  Guidebooks and general knowledge books.  Field techs are often thrown into the field of CRM with no guidance.

Of course I’d have to open a coffee shop from which I could work.  That goes without saying.  My fiance would have a yarn store in there somewhere.  I’m getting off topic.  Anyway, I’d still be involved in archaeology.  It would just be on my terms rather than on someone else’s.

Do you have passion?  What would you do if you won 100 million dollars tomorrow?


Written during a caffeine induced introspection…(on 6.5.11)