By Lynn Seiser, PhD


Finding the Joy of  Work

“My Daddy told me to find what I love to do and learn to do it well enough that people will pay me for it. I was lazy and just enjoyed playing my guitar and singing.” The gentleman saying this is a nationally-known country western star. His interview aired over Armed Forces radio overseas. To this day, it remains the best career advice I have ever heard. I pass it on to my clients on a regular basis. I do not remember the name of the gentleman but I certainly remember his words. Love and work do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Ken is a young man looking for direction in his life. He is depressed and angry. We sit and do small talk. The stuff most people do not even listen to. We find we share a passion for music. You could see the excitement in his eyes as he talked. I asked if he played an instrument or played in a band. He said many of his friends played. He did not enjoy the spotlight but helped set up whenever he could.

As we talked, I could see that Ken already had a direction in life and a passion. He talked about being a band manager, helping his friends get “gigs” and recording contracts. Since I could see his excitement, I asked what he was doing about becoming a manager for real. Musicians typically are so busy with the music aspects they forget or neglect the business side. Many musicians find themselves cheated this way. We began to talk about taking business classes at the local college. He sadly admitted that his parents laughed at him when he had shared with them what he truly wanted to do. No one took him seriously. However, it was obvious he was, and still is, serious. I shared the best career advice I had heard. Some lucky musicians will have someone who cares.

Pat and Leonard were thinking about their future. As a couple, they enjoyed going and staying at different Bed and Breakfasts for weekend getaways. They enjoyed the hospitality and homey atmosphere. They began to wonder what to do with the rest of their lives. It was time for a new direction and location. I asked them about starting and running their own Bed and Breakfast. They had thought of it but did not know where to start. I told them that as a teenager I had a job as a library page re-shelving books. What I shared was that if you wanted to learn something, anything, somebody has written a book about it. They searched the library, the Internet, and the local bookstore. They found twelve books specifically on how to start and run a Bed and Breakfast. The more they studied, the more feasible and possible the idea became. As they developed their business plan, their excitement and passion grew. Here was something they could do together and enjoy. Others would benefit as well from the hospitality these two genuinely love to extend to others.

I remember a young man working in the factories around the Detroit area. The amount of pain and suffering in the world struck him. There had to be a way to help people toward a happier and healthier life. He barely made it through high school. He attended a local college and began to study psychology. His friends laughed when he told them he wanted to help people. People generally do not want help out of their suffering, they told him. He went forward with his studies because it seemed right and true to his own direction in life. He is now an internationally respected psychotherapist and writer living in Southern California. He focuses on increasing people’s awareness that they do not have to live in pain and suffering; they can live a healthier and happier life. He is grateful for having heard some sound advice while stationed overseas.

One of the most accurate predictors of career success is an interest inventory. A checklist compares your interests with the interests of people already successfully in a career. The premise being, the closer the interests match, the better the chance at succeeding in that profession. What are you interested in? What books, movies, shows, or activities do you do just for the fun of it, or because you find them interesting? If you are interested in the field you are going into, you just might enjoy studying about it and doing it. After all, work is what we do because people pay us to. Play is what we pay people to do. So which is actually our highest criterion? Play is. Also, if you are truly interested in what you are doing you just might pay closer attention and do a better job at it. In other words, to be successful you have to be interested and enjoy what you are doing. Work becomes more interesting, play-like, and enjoyable.

Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and sharing the awareness of the joy of working together on this journey.

Lynn Seiser, Ph.D., is an internationally respected psychotherapist in Seal Beach, CA with more than twenty years of direct clinical experience in recovery counseling for offenders and victims of violence, trauma and abuse. He is also  President of the Board for the Tenshinkai Aikido Foundation, a nonprofit public benefit corporation that supports nonviolent conflict resolution, and personal and social responsibility through the philosophy and practice of Aikido. Lynn is known for his work in “holistic” recovery from addictions and his emphasis on “healthy” relationships. He is also a consultant, speaker and writer offering eleven web pages at and can be e-mailed at To discuss the benefits of his services, to make a referral, or to make an appointment, contact him at 550 Pacific Coast Hwy., #203, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or call (562) 799-1371.

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