A friend of mine, Billy Quirke, hosted an event recently called “Dad Talks”. It was a short series of life lessons presented by, you guessed it, Dads. Their talks varied a great deal, but there was a common theme: the emerging concept of passion in our generation's careers. Our Dads didn't have that. They picked a solid career, brought their lunch box/briefcases to work, and stuck at it through thick and thin.
I recently started a brewery (Gibsons Tapworks) and hearing about Dad Talks made me reflect, "did I do this as a passion project?"
To give it a bit of context, in fall of 2015, my cousin first brought up the idea of starting a brewery on the Sunshine Coast with me. At the time, things were going really well for me on the career front: lots of emerging opportunities with great pay, good benefits/vacation, interesting and engaging work, lots of "upward mobility", and plenty of job security... tough to ask for a whole lot more. So a start-up brewery, as awesome as I knew it would be, wasn't a slam dunk when it first came up.
Around the same time, I was gearing up to propose to my now wife, Vickie, on a hiking trip in Patagonia, Chile.
It wasn't until that trip that I shifted my thinking. I'd always thought of a career in the context of the list above -- compensation, engaging work -- i.e. what looks good on paper and what the Dads thought was the way to go about your career. When I framed it more in a "what do I want out of life" kind of way, the decision seemed so easy. It was all about the lifestyle I wanted, and building my career around that, not pushing as hard as I could up a corporate ladder and having life be a byproduct of my career.
If I fully committed to a career of passion, there's a decent chance I'd be broker than broke, stressing to find life's basics, and generally unhappy. I want to live near mountains. I want to live near the ocean. I want to raise a family and pay for hockey, dance lessons, or whatever the heck my kids get psyched about. My interests are too fluid and ever-changing to be careers, or even jobs, where that can happen (unless, you know someone who wants to pay me to organize a camping trip with friends one day, fall into the depths of Netflix another, and go on a stupidly long bike ride spur of the moment the next).
With the brewery, I get to check off so many boxes of what I want out of my day-to-day life. The ability to express creativity, to be strategic, to problem solve, to balance risk and reward, to be autonomous and to build something from the ground up we can be proud of. Also, beer. I wake up every day with a smile on my face. It sets me up to get out of life all the things I truly covet: mountains, ocean and family.
I'm sure I would've been happy had I stuck it out, taken that consulting gig, and seen where it took me. I probably also would've been happy to go heavy on the passion, changed careers every time my life-interest ADHD took hold, and scraped by. But, God damn, am I grateful I went lifestyle-first because it feels so right.
Gibsons tapworks is a microbrewery, tasting lounge, and community hub located in lower Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. Follow along as they go from decrepit building to opening their doors on February 24th, 2017 at www.gibsonstapworks.com/, www.facebook.com/
Take a peek into the second annual TED-Q through a Q&A with the founder, Billy Quirke as he explores what matters the most to us in our everyday lives.