“Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
I was told this saying a long time ago and believed it for a while. I’m starting to not believe it anymore. I see a lot of people frustrated to find something to do for a living that they love doing. College students put off declaring a major because they can’t figure out if it’s something they’ll love. People bounce around from job to job because they don’t love what they are doing.
We get sold the idea that you can love what you do for a living and it’s something we all can achieve if we work hard enough and put in enough time. The problem is that it’s just not true. (For some people, yes, it is true. I get that. Good for you.)
For the majority of us, though, we might never do something for a living that we absolutely love and are passionate about. I honestly think that’s ok. Maybe it’s even what’s best for us. I think if you can tolerate your job then you’re doing quite well.
First off, these days it’s hard to just go out and choose a job. I’m sure many people would choose jobs if they could, but the problem is that the jobs are not choosing them back. Still, if you choose a job you love and you never work a day in your life, you’re probably not working that hard. Work is called work because it takes work. Sure, some work is way more rewarding than other work; I’m not saying that we should all wake up every day and hate our lives.
I’m just saying that it is ok not to feel like you’re changing the world from 9 to 5. It’s ok to not absolutely be in love with the job you do that pays your rent.
What if what you love doing is playing with your kids? Can you do that for a living? I don’t think The Wiggles are hiring any time soon. What if you love writing songs like I do? Sure, some people can make a living off of it, but they are about .000000004% of the population of songwriters. Again, The Wiggles aren’t hiring.
So do I give up what I am I currently making a living off of to pursue songwriting at all costs? Some people do that. They sleep on floors. They sell their cars. They leave their hometowns. And some make it and it’s a really amazing success story. Others, though, don’t make it. And then they work a job they don’t love.
I’d like to present a counter statement to the one that kicked off this post – Do what you’re good at for a living. Do what you love on the side.
I am the last person who will tell you not to chase your dreams. But I also wouldn’t mind being the first person to tell you that making an honest living and providing for your family should be a dream come true. Seriously, don’t quit your day job. You don’t have to quit your day job to truly chase your dream and your calling, either.
You don’t know what you want to do with your life? Pick something you’re good at and can tolerate. Try and pick at least the right environment to be in. One that lets you do what you love in the midst of doing what you have to do. Put your passions out there into your work environment.
I love entertaining people, and I’ve had HR managers ask me to MC meetings as if I were hosting The Oscars, so I did it. I’ve been asked to be the entertainment at work Christmas parties, so I did it. When I was a valet, it was my coworkers who kicked me until I started a band, which is what resulted in some of the most fun I’ve ever had. And they would all show up and support me at every gig.
Your job that you don’t love can give you some amazing outlets to do what you really love. It’s called honest work because you should work with as much integrity as you can, even if you come home and fall in love with something else. Maybe some day what you love and what you do for a living will merge and it will be awesome. But it’s also fine if your awesome starts after 5:00.
I’ll let Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs) wrap this all up way better than I could articulate.
I would never advise anyone to “follow their passion” until I understand who they are, what they want, and why they want it. Even then, I’d be cautious. Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I’m more inclined to say, “Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.”