So, Work and Love

My friend recently posted this article in response to this article. It is interesting to hear the backlash to the concept of doing what you love as work. Both articles discuss how finding what you love to do, and then doing that for work is terrible advice. I don’t agree.

First let me say that there is nothing whatsoever with doing a job to feed, clothe and house yourself and your family. I would say there is nobility in doing it in a job you dislike, or maybe simply don’t love to do.

Too often workers nowadays simply put in hours, there is no attempt to be a better employee, we just don’t think that way. The problem is, that is the trade off. I give my employer my time, my hours, my effort, and they give me money. If my employer isn’t happy with my work, they can stop the arrangement, if I don’t like the deal, I can also stop the arrangement. Of course you stopping it comes with the problem of now having no money. Since your employer has the money that you want to get, doing things the way they want them done is kind of the point of being the employee.

There are good employers and bad ones, and many, many in between ones, but the arrangement is still the same. You trade with each other. Money for work. More employees should learn this early, it makes life at work so much better when you grasp the concept behind it, less griping about life being unfair to you. It isn’t, or at least not more unfair than it is to everyone.

What does this have to do with doing what you love? Well here is the thing. If you have something that you love to do, and you are good at doing it, then you should try and do that to make money. It is not always possible, that’s okay, you can still do what you love, but you’ll  have to do something else for money. I think of it this way, what are you passionate about? Are you skilled at it? If those 2 line up, you will probably make money at it, or at least make a living. If they don’t line up, you may still get by doing what you love, or you could do what you are skilled at but don’t love.

I am gifted at organization, I just don’t like doing it much, I see flow and process easily and have without much thought, helped others fix issues. Now if I was passionate about it, I could make it into a business and with some hard work and maybe a little luck, do well at it. I just don’t want to do that for a living. Instead I have chosen to do something I am passionate about and I work hard to get more skilled at it.

I have an 18 year old daughter who is just deciding what to take in school, what she wants to try to do for a living. It is kind of cool to see it unfolding. My advice for her is simply this, you are young, you have lots of time, chase what you love, try to do that, who knows maybe you will be one of the fortunate people who are really good at what they love and you will lead a lovely fulfilling life. If not, no worries, lots of actual jobs out there, where you can do what you love on the side.

I hate it when well meaning people tell her to try something sensible, or tell others to “get a trade then you have something to fall back on”. Don’t shot to fall back, shoot for what you love, if you fall back, well okay, time enough to get a trade, or flip burgers, or whatever. Time enough. I am on my 6th (and best) career. I have learned things along the way, but I truly wish someone had nudged me towards my passion early in life, maybe, just maybe I could have made it work.

So tell those people, those well meaning, ignorant people, “thank you for your advice, I’m gonna go and live my own life, make my own mistakes and try to fly where my passion leads.”

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