What makes you happy?

I received a question from my former student last night. I chose to answer it this morning. Since I myself, need some time to think about the answer. It was not a question about law nor was it a question about education. It was a question about life. So the question goes,

"Madam, I was thinking, how do I know that what I am doing all this while is my dream job. And how can others easily find what they want to do in life, it is so easy for them finding their dream job. As for me, I am still confuse on what I should do in life and I still haven't find anything that I am really in love with."

Well, that sure is, a very tough question. But I guess I can take a dive and try to answer it, according to my perspectives and based on my oh-so-little experiences.

To me, finding what you love to do in life, your dream job and actually doing it, fall under the category of rizq. So that being said, you can't really demand from Allah that you want to have a dream job. You can only pray and ask for the best and He will decide whether what you think you want (your dream job), is really the best thing that should happen to you. 

Having a dream job is considered as rizq because not everybody actually found theirs. You can ask your parents whether what they had been doing for the past twenty years or so is actually what they love to do. They sweat at it everyday but do they enjoy what they do, every minute of it? 

You will be surprised to hear that most of them had to do what they had to do in order to survive. They have a family to support, or maybe it is for self-sustenance but the important point here is that they still have to continue doing it albeit not actually loving it. I asked my mother once why did she join the banking industry after she graduated nearly 40 years ago. Is that what she wanted to do all along. She told me she had no choice since she already had a baby to support (Yup, that's me!!!) and my father was still studying for his MBA in the US. 

I guess maybe after so many years, you just bring yourself to fall in love with what you do, not knowing whether it is actually your dream job or not. For years, you spend more than eight hours in the office, trying to complete your task, that eventually you become the master of the trade. A job that you already know how to tackle it from the moment your boss put in on your desk, what's there not to love, right? Even though it did not come to you at first, as a choice that you can choose.

I can personally relate to this. I had written in my second book, Candle in the Wind, that I did not plan to become a lecturer after I graduated. In my mind, I wanted to complete my chambering, admitted to the Bar and practice. It was my father's idea for me to take teaching as a career. Unlike teachers, who were given training on how to teach and many other pedagogy techniques, we lecturers can only guess and use the best techniques that we find actually work in class, by experience. 

I just dived into teaching and use the best of my knowledge to control a classroom full of students. The love came in many years later, when I started to receive Thank You cards and small gifts from the students. I felt so appreciated that I think being a lecturer is my dream job. I know I am good at it. 

But then, to continue doing what you love is also a rizq from Allah. After a while, I started to question myself, my ability in teaching. I was teaching law, but straight from the textbook. I had no experience in practice and sometimes it was difficult for me to relate the facts or cases or even statutes to the students because I have no real life example to illustrate to them. I love it if my students can understand what I am teaching and I work really hard for it. But after a while, I felt so handicapped that I could not give them a real life experience because I was never in practice. 

There were also few other extraneous reasons that prompted me to question myself, is teaching the only thing I am good at? I took a very daring decision to quit my job and started my chambering. It was not an easy journey but at least I know how it works now from the eyes of a practitioner. I still take part time jobs for teaching around Klang valley and I find that I am more satisfied now that I am able to relate my teaching with the real life experience that I am having. My former students now would not undermine my teaching because I am too, a legal practitioner like them. 

I started to write, Submitting to Allah, when I received so many questions from the students, even after I had left UiTM for good. That triggered me to write. I suddenly find another niche, at this age of my life. To motivate the students had always been my cup of tea but to put it in writing is another story. More even difficult to make the writing acceptable by everyone reading it. 

I did not know I could write. I was an academician for more than ten years and only started to write academic papers few years before I left UiTM. Alternatively, Allah made me found another calling in life, to motivate people through my writing. I had received few paid jobs offer after that, to write in other genres and I am happy to announce that Alhamdulillah this new ability I discovered had helped me to pay some of my bills.

As of now, I had tried a few gigs in my life. Some I like and others, I feel, is just not for me. Like doing business. Even though I had tried my hands at that, somehow I don't feel that I'm a part of it. I can't continue doing business now because I am a registered member of the Bar, but I did not have any regret at all leaving that chapter of my life. I don't feel comfortable promoting my products and trying to sell it to customers. It's just not who I am. 

So far, I miss teaching (if I did not get any offer to teach for a long time (part time)) and I enjoy writing too. It is such an accomplishment when you finally reach 'the end' part no matter what piece you are writing about. Thus, maybe these two are my dream jobs for now, teaching and writing. 

I do not know what the future holds. Maybe there is something else for me out there for me to dive into and who knows, I'm actually good at doing that too! I pray for the best, in shaa Allah. I hope that what I am good at will also be the thing that I love to do, apart from the job being highly needed to pay my bills.

Look at Colonel Sanders for instance. How old was he when he founded KFC. Well, of course we also have to pray hard that we do not meet the love job of our life at that age 😛hahaha. 

To that student of mine, who originally posted this question, you are still so young. There are so many things in life that you can try and explore. If by the first try, you feel that you had found your dream job, Alhamdulillah, all praises to Allah. But if it's not, then keep praying. You never know what's going to come in the future. 

You see, I am completing my ICSA course right now, and watching the Suits series make me want to jump into the corporate arena, hahaha! I will take a chance and will like to try that someday but I myself, can't guarantee whether that's going to be my dream job. 

So what is the conclusion for now? Take a step back and just do what you have to do. Your heart will tell you whether it is right for you or not. And if it is not right, then you really have to have a meeting with yourself and ask whether you should take a plunge and try something else, to find your love, or to stay doing what you are doing, because it pays the bill. The choice, my dear, is always yours. 

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