Do Not Follow Your Passion, Go Into Physical Security

Now, honestly, this may not be the best recruitment slogan ever but there may be more upside than first appears.

"Do What You Love" is one of the most common maxims for determining what to do in life. If you like football, become a football player, if you like music, becoming a starving artist, if you look pot, well...

Suffice to say, hardly anyone grows up loving or dreaming about being in physical security but I am not sure if that dooms it. A recent insightful Inc article called 'Do What You Love' the worst advice.

Money quotes:

"It's easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career and business fulfillment. The reality is, that type of preexisting passion is rarely valuable."

"Passion is a side effect of mastery... The satisfaction of achieving one level of success spurs you on to gain the skills to reach the next level, and the next, and the next. And one day you wake up feeling incredibly fulfilled."

That fits well with my experience. What about you?

There was a whole slew of similar articles discussing a Steve Jobs commencement speech, too, in which he told kids that they needed to do what they loved. I love this quote from one:

“Find what you love and never settle for less” is an excellent recipe for frustration and poverty.

I thought you loved video surveillance? :(

Ive most often become frustrated with jobs where I was surrounded by people who didn't have a passion or love for their job in the industry. I dont believe you have to specifically love video surveillance, but at least having a passion for technology or electronics is req'd to me...

For the record, I too never expected to work a day in physical security. Not that it isn't noble or right; I just never considered it.

In fact, I have had several 'How in the world did I end up here?' moments while trenching cables in hard pack clay, wrestling with undocumented errors, trying to troubleshoot my own (faulty) designs, and dealing with slimeball business tactics. ..but nothing beats that satisfaction when your systems work so flawlessly and smooth the end user acts as if they've always been there.

Like many members, and like the article suggests, I simply want to be the best at what I do. Whether or not that's achieveable is beside the point - it's the subsequent motivation that matters.

"Do what you Love." sounds great to romantics, but there's a lesson for us all in 'Hard Work is its own Reward.'

What does it mean to have a 'passion for technology or eletronics'? I mean this seriously. I do hear lots of people say this.

Does this mean a passion growing up? I think I have more of a 'passion' now for tech than when I was a kid. Part of it, is that tech is so well respected and provides such great opportunities. Before the dotcom boom, it really wasn't like that.

Perhaps "passion" was more of the stereotype phrase, where I really meant, "not-opposed to"... The bottom line to me is that we are in a fast changing, and rapidly growing industry (driven by new" technology") and I cant see anyone being happy in this industry long term if they want to clutch to 10year old designs and products. It doesnt mean you have to be a CES gadget-geek, but it certainly doesn't hurt to be one.

I guess a lot also depends what your job within the industry entails. It's pretty diverse from Security Resource Officers to Software Dev Engineers, to CIO and Chiefs of Police.

I actually don't think I have a passion for technology or electronics, and I certainly don't love video surveillance. I think I'm actually anti-technology in some ways. I read books, not a Kindle, and I listen to records still. I hike. I garden. Those things feel better to me than technology.

I think the root of my career is that I have a passion for problem solving, and the low-voltage industries have been what I happened into, so they're my chosen medium, I guess. And security has been the focus just because there's more of it out there, and it's been lucrative. But if you look at the other things I'm interested in in security, like CPTED, there's a problem solving element there, too. So I think that explains that.

I think passions are much more basic than people typically characterize. It is "Passion for technology" or is it rather "Passion for understanding complex, maybe even obscure things?"

The latter is evidenced in all sorts of interests - not just knowing the the lastest CES releases. For example, if someone beats the pants off you in a game of Trivial Pursuit, they more than likely also have a 'Passion for technology'.

It is "Passion for technology" or is it rather "Passion for understanding complex, maybe even obscure things?"

I think that makes a lot of sense. What specifically one is passionate about is also a function of era. 30 - 40 years ago, electronics were 'cutting edge', 30-40 years before that machines, etc.

Smart people who like intellectual challenges will move to what technologies are most exicting / lucrative for their time.

I once heard it said that there are three circles, the first that represents what you love to do, the second that represents what you are good at doing, and the third that represents what people are willing to pay you for. The point where these three circles overlap represents your best possible career choice.

Most of the people that I know of in physical security seemed to stumble into it and before long it became their career. In my case, watching an installer applying alarm window foil on a store window when I was age 13 got me curious about alarms and this turned into a career that has lasted more than 40 years.

I followed my passion for a while as a career, but after a while Street Miming gets old. For a brief window I thought I was going to be able to spin that into a professional Flash Mobber, but the market has kind of dried up.

When I was growing up, it was either aircraft pilot/astronaut or electronics. My eyesight resolved that for me...

Consumer electronics led to CCTV which led me to where I am today (and have been for 15 years).

In a way I stumbled into the security industry as well. I was an accounting major in college and was not interested by what I studied. I took a job with a distributor fresh out of college (making peanuts). However, that is where I was introduced to IPVM and have been able to learn so much about the industry. I wouldnt say I didn't follow my passion going into physical security either because I really am passionate about technology.

An accounting major must have a passion for very lengthy ledger pages of numbers! :)

haha accounting major's must have the willingness and desire to conquer the CPA exam. I have respect for anybody with their CPA but I do not envy their career path. You are basically an indentured servant this time of the year if you work for a big 4 CPA firm like many of my college buddies currently.

At the very least you shouldn't work at a job you hate. I think you should do what you love to do, if it helps make your life fullfiling. (A balance of liking your job vs. making enough money to do things you like outside your job.) When I was in JRTOC in high school I loved that and dreamed I would go into the militray. Scoliosis took care of that and my later attempt at entering law enforcement. But I've always been technically adept. I lucked into computer technology in the later 90's and transiitoned into secuirty when one of my customers who did security saw where the industry was going and realized he needed a full time computer and networking technology person and offered me a job. It was a scary thing not having any experiance in security, but I was growing bored in a way with general computer tech. It turned out to be a good decision- I've grown passionate about my work and it hasn't gotten boring yet.

One of the lessons I think I learned is it's great to do what you love, but don't always be sure about what you'll end up loving.

I'm punching the apocryphal 'like' button on Luis' post.

I too happened into security where I honestly thought I would wind up in an internet software company. I don't know if this is where I'll be 10 years from now but I think better advice would be to love what you do. Our perspective and level of gratitude for where we are and what we have will impact our passion more than a change of scenery. Grass can look greener on the other side but from business to business I've learned that many companies have the same shortcomings and challenges however there are nuggets of gold anywhere if you are willing to focus on them.

This topic resonates with me. I find myself in that intersection of doing what I love, doing what I'm good at, and being reasonably compensated. In the past, I've worked in the intersection of only two of the circles (competency and compensation) and found I was miserable. I much prefer a career where all three circles intersect.

I'm probably an anomaly for this website. I don't install / sell IP cameras full time. I'm here because I enjoy the technology and this site allows me to stay immersed.

My current "what I love doing" job is working as a police officer. I ended up here after being dissuaded by my parents from law enforcement. Back then, I went after my second passion -- technology. I was always good at connecting car stereo system amps and equalizers. My school had a 32 terminal mini computer system and I hacked the factory account (the statute of limitations has long since tolled).

After graduating from college, and devoting 16 years to a career with EDS and smaller IT companies. I saw big changes in the IT support field and went through the "tech wreck" recession. I made the leap to passion number one, law enforcement, the place where all three circles came together for me.

It turns out that law enforcement is a big field with many specializations that no single person could ever master (evidence, case law, defensive tactics, investigations, armorer, motors, surveillance, etc.) I found myself being called into specialties requiring a technical aptitude: computer forensics, mobile computing, and remote surveillance. IP cameras quickly surfaced for me as the appropriate tool for surveillance as they allow for better resolutions, sophisticated integration, and remote live monitoring.

John mentioned, technology changes from generation to generation -- telegraph, telephone, wireless, computers, smartphone apps, etc. Miniaturization allows these cameras to exist; they are computers in an increasingly small box. They represent the next generation of technology, one of the places to where the technofiles will migrate.

I foresee home automation with remote monitoring as a growth area in the next decades and IP cameras will play a significant role. It could well be the next intersection of the three circles for me.

Well I'm not sure I would listen to slogans like this . I have been in business for over 25 years and have seen it all. Incompetent or competent, Good or Bad

Passion for what you do is extremely important to what you do. How well you succeed or if your keep quitting & changing direction in life .

Set Goals , Set Direction , Find What your Talent is and how do you do at it .

Do what you like to do. Success is not always how much your paid or succeeding at what you do .

I have hired many individuals who had the desire , but no common sense . Had the expertise but could not communicate with or work well with others as was critical to the job or Project .

Dont Just fill a position and if you do , do your best , while setting the goals to head in the direction of your real passion .

You will only succeed if it is what you like to Do .

And I have met many unhappy , discontent successful people who hate what they do , and would change in a minute if they had the chance or could reverse the course of direction early in life .

As you Progress in life your bonded to the lifestyle you build as you keep refining the process.

Do what you like and set goals in what you want to succeed in. Do the Hardwork of due diligence before you enter into the lifestyle your stuck with.

Your Passion has to be what you love . and are willing to put your life into. Good or Bad

Look to people who have done it , not to a bunch of philosophers who have no life experience . I look to experts for expertise , experience and Background. I never go to someone who has no life experience right out of school .

Success is having the best resources to build on and the best team to achieve goals.

Sherman, thanks for the thoughtful response.

You mention, "I foresee home automation with remote monitoring as a growth area in the next decades and IP cameras will play a significant role." I think it's a good topic and I started a discussion on it here - "The Future of Monitoring and Home Automation"

There is a big difference between doing what you love as a job or as a hobby...

Once your hobby becomes a job, it is not as much fun anymore. Many times in life I contemplated a Scuba Diving Instructor, a Skydiving instructor, etc. until I actually spent some time with those who made it their job...

I started my way in the industry right out of military service. found an ad in the paper for a locksmith job. the requirement was: "willing to be on 24/7 call"

Back in my 20's it sounded like a perfect fit with my club promotion "career" :)

Had my locksmith truck parked in front of the clubs in NYC back in the late 90's. many funny stories came out of those days...Locked-out drunk people.

Now a days, there is nothing more fullfiling than finding the right solutions for clients needs.

If you don't enjoy what you do, do something else!

BTW, on Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Safety and security is only second to the basic physical needs.Feel s good to know that our industry, at least by original intention, was created to bring peace of mind.

I would disagree, Sagy. My work and my primary hobby are so intertwined that people (especially my wife ;>) ) would be hard-pressed to tell the difference. I'm constantly researching electronics technology, including CCTV, Consumer Electronics, Pro A/V (I used to do side work teching for AV recording studios) and just about everything related.

As of the Security field, i beleive the focus on 'physical security' and 'information security' remains a key subject. Since both of them are running in the IP platform, how to perform 'data analysis' definitely would be the future. during my trip to India these 2 weeks, a few professor in Colleges also responds to my thoughts.

This is just an awesome topic!

I for one never dreamt I would end up in Physical Security. I started off my company thinking we would focus on some combination of structured wiring and IT support. I am so glad that didn't work out. The physical security field is so much more interesting. What started as hobbies (tinkering with computers and networks, hacking linux, etc) have turned into assets.

Brians quote "... passion for understanding complex, maybe even obscure things" hits the nail on the head for me.

Saggy & Carl hit it right on, Its what you Do Because You Really like what you Do. An Adventure or Journey into new areas of life & Technology. Once you do what you enjoy , you live in it and do it like part of your life or entire being. You will endure what it takes to go to the next level. You will have good times & bad times and you will go thru areas you like & dont like , but to stay in the industry game you must like it or you will bail out and just hold a position .

To Endure, you must have stamina and to get this you must have a stable view of where your are at in life & where your going .

Those long times you spend in R&D , Training , Hard Work with out Reward. The Success, Fulfilment and achievement of Goals. Doing what you love creates the drive for success

Explore , Dream , Think , Realize what that is, or you wont put in the time needed to succeed. Met many business men who work 80 + hour s per week and are in thier 70s,80s and dont what to retire , just take breaks as they love what they do . and could not see themselves doing anything else.

Live Long , Prosper , Do your Dreams & live Your Passion. One life , One love , One Passion. Enjoy What you do so you create good attitudes of success in others in life.