Don't Confuse Your Job with Your Profession

By Mike Matarazzo, CTACC

Think back to when you decided to enter into the Hospitality Profession. Try to remember your "why" and how excited it made you. The passion that you have for serving others is one that is unconditional. The feeling that you get from knowing that you were able to create a unique and positive experience for people is like a drug.


It's a crazy time for our industry and one that has presented new challenges that are unlike any we have ever encountered. Many of us had an opportunity during the height of the pandemic to spend less time at work and more time at home. We were introduced to a new life quality. One that we didn't believe existed for our kind. This time allowed us to reflect and reprioritize what is important to us both inside and outside of work.


I speak to a lot of industry professionals in my coaching practice and one thing that I notice in more and more of them, is the idea that they no longer love what they do. I recently reflected on this growing mindset trend and eventually began to see the correlation between the revised list of life priorities and this desire to "run away."


It has always been true that if you are clear on the things you need in order to be happy at work, and you are persistent in finding that formula, then you will eventually find a great fit. Heightened stress levels and increased uncertainty over the last couple of years has changed things for the way that we are able to operate and some of the rules have changed. In many cases, the job has changed and might have even become unrecognizable to the place that once seemed so perfect.


This "place" is called your job. It is the place you go every day to earn a living and to fulfill the desire you have to serve others and do the things that you are so passionate about. All of those things that you are so passionate about are the things that make up your profession. Remember...? - that thing that you love, unconditionally.


That's where the distinction needs to be. I realized that many of the people that are all of a sudden saying that they "no longer want to do this," are not thinking about the profession they love. They are unhappy with their job. Unhappy with the environment in which they are tasked to perform at their best. Under resourced, under supported, or under appreciated.


The environment in which you work should never define your level of passion for your profession. It should only provide a positive, safe, and supportive setting for you to shine and use your abilities at the highest level. The environment in which you work is your choice. The more selective you become and the less you tolerate jobs that don't meet your needs, the more likely it is that you will continue to realize that original "why."


What I advise to those clients that are looking to leave the industry completely, is to take a step back and figure out the things that are triggering this desire. In most cases, it is determined that it is not the profession that needs to change, but the job itself. Sometimes, you can affect change at your job by strategically and effectively communicating with your colleagues and supervisors. It could even be an easy fix that everyone is on board with and no need to make a move. The hard truth is that if change at he job isn't possible, then changing the job itself may be the only way to continue to do what you love on your terms. But remember...change the job, not the profession. If your argument to this is centered around a long career of job after job that have failed to deliver what you need, maybe it's time to pinpoint some flaws in your job selection process. After all, just because you have been doing something for a long time, it doesn't mean you are doing it well.


Running from what you love, because you have decided that finding the right place is too hard or "impossible," well... that may be a different problem entirely.


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