Mighty Life List
Oct 11 2012

Do You Hate Your Job?

“You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, to go on living, to do things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid!”

Here’s something I think about almost obsessively — how to earn a living doing the things you love. I was raised by a mother who said, “If you like doing something, why would someone pay you to do it?” This video is a very succinct insight into why I’ve come to disagree:

If you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master at it. That’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.

Do you believe this? Or do you think people are too often trapped by their circumstances, and that this is an overly privileged way of viewing the world?

Then again, as my friend Fiona says, “If we have the luxury of having the option, it’s almost an injustice not to take it.”

What do you think?

(via the genius Brain Pickings)

46 Responses to “Do You Hate Your Job?”

  • MacKensie Says:

    Thanks for posting! I like your friend’s idea- if you have the option then how can you not choose to follow your passion?

    The speaker on this video is Alan Watts, he’s somebody worth looking up and listening to more.

  • latenac Says:

    Work is such a huge part of one’s life that I think for your own sanity you have to at least like what you do. Love is kind of a strong word though as many other priorities come into it – what skills do you have that pay a living wage? how do you balance work and family? or even work and personal? etc.

    To just say do what you love I think is a little naive. For example I love cooking but I decided not to go to chef school or become a chef b/c a big part of what I love about cooking is sitting with those who are eating what I made and hearing the conversation and seeing people enjoying my cooking. I knew I might grow to hate cooking if I became a chef.

  • Rachel @ the minimalist mom Says:

    “Here’s something I think about almost obsessively — how to earn a living doing the things you love.”

    Oh, Maggie. Thank you for this.

    It took me a long time, until I was 32 and had already had my first child, to think about work in this way. My dreams felt so far away when I looked up from my cubicle. Some days I couldn’t remember them. Sure, I was fairly happy and I didn’t hate my job but there was a side of me, a quiet secret place with the dreams of my 13 year-old self, that was withering away.

    Luck, my husband, strange coincidence and taking a harder look at what I really wanted in my life, wardrobe and home spun things around. Doors opened.

    Three years later it’s all happening. I am slowly earning a living doing things that I love.

    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.

  • Ris Says:

    I hate to be negative, but I think this is a bit of an overly privileged way of viewing the world. I also think it’s just not feasible for most people. Aside from the practical implications–providing for your family, making sure you have health insurance, savings, and retirement–What if, say, your favorite thing in the world is to drink beer and watch Star Wars on your couch? Once it was turned into a job (however that would work) it might not hold the same appeal. Now, I don’t hate my job, not at all, but I wouldn’t show up if they didn’t pay me. This doesn’t mean I’m unhappy or wasting my life, just living to go on doing something that makes me unhappy. This just means that I go somewhere and do work to get money, and I use that money to do things that make me really happy. I think that as long as people have a healthy balance, they can be perfectly happy doing something that isn’t their true passion. I can’t fathom turning any of my interests into a job. Then they would become work, not fun.

  • Anne Says:

    I’ve also been thinking about this a lot lately. Two thoughts:

    1) I do think sentiments like this come from a place of privilege, and it’s really disingenuous to assume that the majority of people can make a choice. Whenever I hear stuff like this I think of Maslow’s hierarchy – to even be able to seriously consider self-actualization a person needs to have a very solid base of security, safety, esteem, etc.

    2) I am so privileged to have my dream job doing something I love and have loved for most of my life. But doing it in the context of a day-to-day, demanding job makes me love it less. I am exhausted by it. I often wish I were doing something else so I could continue to just love the thing I love and continue to get pleasure from it.

  • kristin a. Says:

    Oh that Fiona, she’s so wise.

  • Rebecca S. Says:

    I like my job sometimes, it’s the best job I’ve ever had, but I would love a job I love. I’m just having a hard time figuring out what I love. That’s why finding my passion (whether or not it may lead to a career change) is on my life list.

  • Deirdre Says:

    My dad would often say “nobody LIKES working. It’s something you just have to do.” This often came up for debate right before college. I wanted to be an English major(“What are you going to do with THAT?!”); he wanted me to be an education or accounting major. I started as an education major but eventually stopped accepting my parents’ financial support, put myself through college and switched to an English major after all. The world didn’t end :)

  • Hedvig Says:

    I love my job. I help people transform their windowsills, patios and yards into abundant food forests. I help people turn abandoned bits of their neighbourhoods into places of connection and beauty by helping them set up community gardens. I get kids involved, families composting and saving water. It’s fantastic.

    No careers person told me that was an option. I had the idea and went out to create a social enterprise and business doing what I love.

    Money isn’t the reason I do this work, I do it because of my passion for design and sustainability and bringing those together. But I still find myself thinking, almost obsessively, about how to earn a living doing the things that I love doing.

    It is so challenging to find the resources to support you until you have the skills to earn a good rate. And even when you can earn a decent rate it is really challenging to turn that into a profitable business (even as a solo entrepreneur).

    So now I am working on a idea to support other self employed people by getting together and working on issues like our website, our finances, our marketing. I feel like we need to encourage and motivate each other when facing these sorts of challenges. So, at the end of this month, we are going to be meeting together for the first time. The plan is, on the last day of the month, we each do our finances and then to celebrate we make cocktails. I am hoping that will make our dream jobs a little more profitable and enjoyable.

  • Danielle Says:

    I think it’s important to follow your passions and do something you love. After all, what’s the point of getting up every day and doing a job you hate.

    I think that we need to remember that this is not an entitlement though. It’s a wonderful thing to aspire to, and a great privilege when it happens.

  • Sheri Says:

    People can “do what they love” where ever their station in life is. Their version of that may not look like my version of that, but it’s there for the taking.

    The exceptions are, obviously, people who are unaware of the notion or have a real, real instability in their lives that is truly out of their control.

    For the most of us, even the underprivileged ones of us, we have to face our fears, lean into it and embrace our wholeheartedness.

    I found this video last night and loved it, too. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah Says:

    I tend to believe it’s less about choosing something you enjoy and more about something else. I’m not sure what to call it.

    It’s about looking at your opportunities (plentiful or few – at many times in our life, the opportunities are few) and making a choice. Sometimes, the choice is to get through the workday as graciously as you can so that you can keep on paying the rent.

    It’s coming up with a plan – not a wish, but plan – to get you from where you are (such a job you might dread) to a place that is better (a job that fills you with excitement). The work is having the patience to deal with the detours and roadblocks that come up along the way.

    …and I do agree with the idea that if you become really good at something, you’ll earn a good fee for your skills. Makes sense to me.

  • Jen Says:

    Gahh! I think about this obsessively, too. Just yesterday, I promised myself I’d ease up a bit, give myself a break and then I see this post this morning. I so want to spend my time doing what I love and not worrying about money, but of course somehow the bills still have to be paid. But it’s not only that, I obsess so much about it that I get stressed out. So now, instead, I’m trying to focus on making the most of each day. Full, deliberately spent days will make a full life, right?

  • Ashley Says:

    Personally, I believe that the minute you start getting paid for something you truly love then you start to not love it as much because its now become a job. I love blogging, sewing, and scrapbooking but the minute I had to meet deadlines and knew there was a paycheck on the line it wouldn’t be fun anymore.

    I think the key is to not hate your job. As far as jobs go, mine is pretty good. I don’t love it (because its a job and I have to be there) but I certainly don’t dread going in or hate it at all and to me that’s plenty satisfying. And I still get to enjoy the things I love in my free time, whenever I want, without anything hanging over my head.

  • c Says:

    I think it’s a matter of needing to be able keep a dream alive while dealing in reality. After spending almost a year unemployed, I very much felt that dreams could go suck it–I wanted to be able to pay my bills. I still am kind of of that mentality. There are parts of the job I got that I actually really love, but I’m not paid to do what I love–my degree was in following monkeys around the jungle, for god’s sake. And for a few years, field research was amazing and life changing and I’m better for having tried to make it my career, but I’m also better for giving it up when it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance for my son if I continued.

    I think there’s a difference between having a job you love and not having a job you hate. I have friends who have given up relationships, sanity, the ability to live without relative strangers for roommates after age thirty, you name it, in the name of doing what they love. They complain about their stress levels a lot–I don’t think that’s a way to happiness. I like my own strategy. I found a job that has aspects of things I love that scratch that mental itch and keep me from becoming dangerously bored. It also pays my bills, and leaves me enough time to spend with my kid. I take satisfaction in things *not just my work*, and that’s been a huge component of making my life better. If you’re deriving too much identity from what you do, what happens if you lose your job? What happens if you screw something up? You wind up having to lose a part of yourself with that job or mistake. You might feel like what you do is who you are, but the economy or your boss or whatever may come along and say “you can’t do this now.” I think it’s important to make sure you’ve got enough of an identity independent of what you do that that statement doesn’t take away something fundamental from your understanding of yourself.

    You can have a happy life without doing a job you adore. You can do a job you adore without having a happy life. And sometimes you can make your own luck and find a job you adore that also lets you have a happy life, but your career can’t be the only thing your happiness rests on, even if it is what you have to do for a large portion of your time. The idea of needing to love your job is both privileged and a great way to set yourself up for dissatisfaction. Find a job you like enough.

  • WhittlesCanWobble Says:

    I’ve been taking part time classes for about 8 years now wondering if I’m going to bump into something I love. My problem is, I don’t really know what I’m passionate about. Since the age of 16, while still in high school, I have been paying rent and making money to support myself. I suppose this is just another layer to the question: how can I know what I love if I’ve never had the chance to explore options?

  • Absquatulate Says:

    I agree with Anne that this idea comes from a place of privilege, and that it’s useful only for those of us who are generally of average or above average intelligence and have an innate curiosity of the world (n.b. “Star Wars and beer as a job” :). It’s also a very egocentric view of the world (If you do what you love, but nobody cares, then how do you make money? It seems you have to do the thing that you love AND the thing others are willing to pay money for.)

    I’ve worked with families who would be happy to find ANY job, never mind “their dream job that they love”. They are so focused on getting off public assistance, keeping an apartment, and feeding their children that they don’t have the luxury of “doing what they love”.

    That being said, I have also seen families work their way up to this position, and how grateful they are that they could give their children the option of “doing what they love” because they could provide for them the foundation they needed. I think those of us (myself included) who have the option of doing what we love must acknowledge what foundations have been laid for us, and that a position of privilege allows us to “love” doing things that people find value in. I do think that the internet gives people new ways of finding others that DO value their work, and that is a very good thing indeed, but again, check your privilege! (You need reliable access to the internet, for example).

  • Becky Says:

    I think Absquatulate nailed it for me. I work 60 hours a week at a job I hate with a capital H. I am high management in food service and make more than every member of my family has ever made. I can’t step away from this job because it is what keeps multiple families fed. I don’t have an option to what I love. But, you know what? I am paving the road for my 4 year to get a choice. I am working this job so that perhaps he will have the privilege of choice.

  • jen Says:

    I love aspects of my job, but would I do it for free? No. I was quite unhappy about 2 years ago and some of that stemmed from my long commute, the city I lived in, personal life choices, etc. So I made a proposal to my company to let me telecommute, I sold my house and moved to my favorite city and now I have such a greater quality of life. My job didn’t change, but my environment did and the way I viewed my job changed. It’s no longer how I spend 11 hours of my day to pay the bills. I have flexible hours and am paid well to work from the comfort of my home. The money I have saved on not commuting or buying business attire, etc means I have more money to put towards the things I love – cooking, traveling, being outside.
    Perhaps I don’t know what I’m passionate about enough to say “I LOVE my job” but I am so happy to be paid well for something that comes easily to me so I can enjoy my life outside of work.
    I think it’s all about balance. You can’t be all about work, you can’t be all about pleasure.

  • Cindy Says:

    I scored well on the MCAT, but didn’t apply to med school. I knew that the world of research science would be more fulfilling for me. My salary will cap out at $50,000/year $60 if I’m lucky. This job will never make me rich, but it pays the bills and I truly enjoy the work that I do. But it doesn’t define me as a whole. I am more than a research scientist.

    I kind of feel like I am privileged, but it’s not because I come from money. I worked through college and I have student loans. I am privileged because I have parents that believed I could be anything I wanted. They nurtured my interests. They made it easy for me to find what it is I wanted to be when I grow up. My husband didn’t have this and he struggled. He didn’t know what he wanted, or he knew what he wanted, but didn’t have the faith in himself to believe he could do it.

  • Kate S. Says:

    Hmm. I am of the opinion that you should find your work interesting or feel it is important and you must like your coworkers and/or environment to feel happy with your work.

    But . . . (and this is a big but). . . my personal opinion is that you shouldn’t “do what you love and love what you do.” It will make the things you love a chore. I used to feel as you do, until I had the opportunity to do something I dearly loved professionally. In just a month, I went from being passionate about it to dreading the task. Even after leaving the position, I have never resumed the activity with my original zeal. It broke my heart.

  • Winter Says:

    At one point in time, I contemplated majoring in Russian since I had spent some time in Russia and loved the Russian language. My adviser said to me, “Some things are best left as hobbies.” He went on to explain that in every career that we may have, there is always the “paperwork” side of things, even in your dream job.

    I finally decided against Russian and went on to be a pharmacist, which I enjoy doing, and I also still love and enjoy the Russian language and speaking Russian with my husband. and I think it’s because I never had to deal with the “paperwork”

  • Amber, theAmberShow Says:

    To the folks who say, “If a hobby becomes a job, it ceases to be fun.”:

    While I never thought of myself as a person motivated by money, my dream job of photographer is only recently a stunning, sharp reality, and I gain way MORE satisfaction from it now that it’s paying my bills, not less.

  • Mandi Says:

    This is actually very timely for me! I think I have a deep fear of ending up in a career I love. Like somehow if I pursue that, it just won’t work out. I have been doing college off and on at my own expense for 13 years, and I am finally in the position to attend univiersity full time. As a single mom in my early 30s, though, I’ve spent so many years feeling hopeless, stressed, and worthless that any liberal arts degree terrifies me.

    However, I am somehow in the position where it makes more practical sense for me to pursue a degree in English (technical writing) than the degree in Nutrition I’d deemed more practical. So of course I’m petrified, but also a little giddy at the prospect of writing for a living. And of course, I recognize that the ability to attend University and have a choice of majors reflects my privilege.

  • Andrew Says:

    I do think it comes from a place of privilege, BUT I think more people may have that privilege than they realize, and if you’ve got it, you should grab it by the horns. I worked in a job I hated for more than half of my four years there, and it was only when I got laid off that I realized I might’ve left sooner had I not been so demoralized by the job itself.

    For me, figuring out what I loved enough I should do it for work was much harder. It did turn into one of those stories where I discovered my lifelong passion (gardening) WAS NOT FUN as a hands-on job. I had to get out of my own way, consider that other passions might be better for work, and find the right mix. I feel ridiculously, incredibly lucky that I did.

    (Thanks for prompting this discussion.)

  • Elizabeth Says:

    I think there is a second phase to this concept of loving your work and working at what you love. That phase is much more elusive, selective, and prohibitive, unfortunately, and I have found that it happens to be rooted in one simple thing: LUCK.

    My friends who work their dream jobs all got those jobs by extreme strokes of luck. One little job got noticed by a certain someone who mentioned something to someone else and then, by luck of the draw, a dream job was in the works. I know that it is fashionable to subscribe to Oprah’s notion that luck is nothing more than the place where hard work meets opportunity, but I have never known that to be true. Hard work and opportunity are two points of the equation, but those two elements don’t create luck, they simply set up the possibility of luck. It does not always happen.

    I’ve baked a cake for a NYT bestselling author. I’ve worked–for free–for a hugely popular athlete’s foundation, in the hope that it might turn into a regular job. I’ve volunteered with nonprofits with whom I share interests. I’ve created original recipes for popular websites, cooked food for fancy people, and written article after article about what I love–all for free. This has been going on for years, and yet I never get anywhere. I do not have luck. I work enormously hard, I find every opportunity possible, and that’s where it ends. Without luck, I will tread water like this forever, until I eventually become exhausted and sink. It sounds dramatic, but it’s simply true. Without luck, hard work and opportunity mean nothing.

  • Paul Says:

    I doubt that there are many subsistence famers out there who would say that they love their jobs. But if they didn’t do what they do, then they would (along with their families) starve to death. So if it’s a choice between doing something you hate and starving to death, well, I’m pretty sure that most folks wouldn’t pick starvation.

  • Leona Says:

    I think it’s crazy that any American can say that wanting to do what you’re passionate about comes from a place of privilege. We have too many stand-outs in our national history who pulled themselves up from extreme poverty or adverse circumstances “by their bootstraps” to think that success in the field *of our choice* is for the privileged few. The path to doing what you love for a living might be longer and twistier for some, but I whole-heartedly believe that those who stay the course will get there– no matter where they started. If you disagree, go ask Oprah. I think she’ll back me up on this one.

  • Monica Says:

    Related is this post by Michael Ruhlman I read yesterday: http://ruhlman.com/2012/10/the-fallacy-of-follow-your-passion/

    Basically he says that “follow your passion” is pretty useless advice but makes some good points about why that might be true.

  • dowager countess Says:

    “I think it’s crazy that any American can say that wanting to do what you’re passionate about comes from a place of privilege. We have too many stand-outs in our national history who pulled themselves up from extreme poverty or adverse circumstances “by their bootstraps” to think that success in the field *of our choice* is for the privileged.”

    Luck and privilege are why they’re _stand-outs_ and not the norm. I am an American, but I am also an American historian. Perhaps that’s why I think so.

  • Hilary Says:

    As I see it, it probably depends on the thing that you love, how much you need to make to sustain yourself (and anyone else you support financially), and whether those two can come together in some kind of magic venn diagram. People manage to make all kinds of places for themselves in the world. I’m a mead making philosopher crisis counseling Lush retail girl knitter paralegal babysitting burlesque dancer. I only get paid for two of those things. The rest? Well, I could go all in with Burlesque, but it would require me to give up Everything Else. I could kickstart a microbrewery and make meadsmithing my thing (a much likelier turn of events) but my student loans from Philosophy require more than that would afford me right now. And on, and on, and on.
    I do feel that it is a privilege to be able to do just one thing that you love as your primary source of income.
    However, I also feel it is something of a privilege, and something of a sadness, to have just one thing that you would like to do for money. Because you know, what if that doesn’t work out? What if you get tired of it? What if it is not what you hoped, or your needs change.

    It is for that reason that I continue to ADD to my “list of things I do for money, satisfaction, compensation, trade, and fun”. Truthfully, I love ALL my jobs. I like having my hand in many pots, and I’m a big fan of Plan B (through X, Y, and Z.)

    For sure, if opportunites arise, SAY YES! because dudes, saying yes is almost always more fun than saying no. And this is coming from a girl who’s been paying back $175,000 in educational loans. I’m not rolling in it over here, and trust me, Burlesque and Makin’ Booze are not cheap hobbies.

    If you can find a way to turn something you adore into something that sustains you financially, GREAT! Go Oprah. Being awesome is pretty much her job. But you know what, even if something(s) I adore can’t sustain me financially? They sustain me in other ways.

    For people who aren’t Oprah (meaning, Me) that feels like enough.

  • Hilary Says:

    I am incapable of brevity. High five, people.

  • Melissa Says:

    Your post reminds me of this related post about not tying your passions to your vocation. Thought-provoking stuff. http://ideasandthoughts.org/2012/08/22/stop-following-your-passions-the-celebration-of-work/

  • Lindsay Says:

    Yes, yes, yes. Do what you love! At three years old, I declared I would be a teacher, and I never changed my mind! At age 22, I began a wonderful career teaching kindergarten. I loved every minute. It was as much a hobby as a career. At age 29, I was given the opportunity to design my dream school. This is where I spend my days, and I cannot believe they are paying me for this!
    It is true. If you do what you love, you will become a master at it!

  • Miss B Says:

    Ugh, this definitely comes from a place of extraordinary privelige. Obviously, if one has the ability to spend their time doing something they actually enjoy/care about/want more than anything, that’s great, lucky them. However, most people don’t have the choice. For example, I would rather make less money working for myself, or doing freelance-y work, or any number of things, than have any kind of 9-5 full-time office-y job. However, I have a chronic illness that requires extraordinarily expensive medication/hospital treatment — to the tune of about $10,000/month — and this is treatment I have been on for over three years (after over 5 years of marginally less expensive and majorly less effective treatments), and will need to continue indefinitely, at least until they find something cheaper/more effective, for a condition I will have until I die. So if I don’t have some kind of job that provides top-notch health insurance benefits, I can’t get the medical care I need. I think it’s really easy for people who _don’t_ actually need the security — financial, medical, legal, or otherwise — that can in many cases only be provided by a job or jobs that they might hate, to say how stupid it is to spend your time doing anything you don’t really want to be doing.

    (Also bearing mention — the fact that loving something does NOT mean you will become a “master” at it. Regardless of how much time you spend doing it. If simple repetition/time commitment was all it took to be a master of something, there wouldn’t be any mediocre — not to mention out-and-out BAD — writing out there, or art, or food, or pracitioners of every trade, practitioners of every hobby, &c. &c. &c. It’s possible to love something entirely and still be terrible at it forever, certainly to never be exceptional. And it’s possible to be a master of something you don’t particularly enjoy, or even outright dislike. Enjoyment levels should never be conflated with skill levels.)

  • Meg Says:

    I think it’s privileged.

    BUT. BUT. I’m fascinated by the number of people from our impoverished home town who ended up making up their own really interesting jobs and doing them well. It’s a complicated calculus why that happened. Most of these kids were spectacularly bright, but with pretty limited resources, and very driven to work hard and get out of there. (So, bright is a privilege, but still, we’re not talking about kids with resources or connections or experience of life beyond an impoverished city.)

    So why did it happen? I think we learned how to make shit happen on our own, because there was no one around to make it happen for us (I mean, literally, we taught ourself Latin American history, because we didn’t have a teacher.) I think expectations were low, in that, if we did ANYTHING well, if we just got out of there, we were impressive (no pressure to be lawyers or doctors). Plus, I think we were all willing to do whatever it took to get to where we wanted to go: so we spend a lot of time as secretaries, or gas station attendants, or waiters, without it hurting our pride.

    And I think all that combined to give many of us the privilege to pursue jobs we love, because we were used to working hard, and we felt pretty free. But that privilege came from lack of privilege. Unlike tons of the people I see around me these days, almost no one I know from home thinks the world owes us anything. Which means we work insanely hard with zero pride to make things happen for ourselves. Which often works well.

    And hell, if it all falls apart, I’m a brillant secretary, and I can manage the shit out of your gas station. And I’m above neither.

  • Meg Says:

    And you know, I’ve never forgotten how much my third grade bus driver Sam (in the second poorest city in America) loved his job. I mean, the man LOVED his job. And he was brillant at it. Best bus driver in the world. We all loved getting on the afternoon bus for our hour ride home.

    So, I think there is a little connection in saying basically, “Only the middle class and above can love what they do.” False. Many of the people I know who have taken the most pride in their jobs, and loved them the most, had very little money. But they had something else: pride in what they did.

  • Megan Says:

    It’s privileged to think that you are entitled to the job of your dreams or to make money off of something you love, to ignore market forces that are not set up to automatically reward you with exactly what you want to do and pay you what you think you deserve at precisely the time you want it.

    Chasing after a dream or trying to align your life around your values or desires is everyone’s right.

  • Amanda Says:

    I think about this ALL. THE. TIME. Especially lately. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English in 2011. Then I graduated with a Bachelor of Education with a major in Elementary Education this past summer. But I don’t know if I want to teach. (Although I am right now. But in Beijing, so that makes it better.)

    People say: “Well, what do you like?” I like books, people, blogs, the internet, and customer service. I’m not sure what that translates to for a job. Maybe a librarian?

    But I feel trapped by the $40 000 debt I have in student loans. I always think, ‘When that’s paid off, I can do what I like.’ But how long will that take? Should I really do something I don’t like for X number of years?

  • Kate W Says:

    Self-actualization is a privilege and one I’m sorta sick of hearing about! Honestly, I think people make themselves VERY unhappy by placing it as their highest goal. I personally believe that you should find something you are reasonably good at, can support yourself with and contributes to the greater good. If you’re doing those three things, you’re doing alright and you have more than most people in this world.

    I say this as someone who enjoys my job. I enjoy my co-workers, my workplace environment and the work itself. I say “enjoy” not “love” because I don’t think you should look for that type of fulfillment in a professional setting. At the end of your life, are you going to reflect about how amazing your professional life was? Or are you going to be thinking about how you treated your relationships with family, friends, lovers, etc.?

    Work is an important part of life and does give us some of our meaning. I would like to see everyone have an opportunity to find a job that fits those three criteria I mentioned above. But other than that, I think asking for more is selfish and wrong-headed. As my daddy always said, “There’s a reason why work is always a 4 letter word and fun ain’t.”

  • Martha Says:

    I don’t think you have to take it so literally as to say you can make a living watching Star Wars, but I agree that you should find a job you enjoy. I worked as a bookkeeper for years, and while I enjoyed the work itself, I didn’t like the companies I worked for. I finally quit at the end of tax season to start my own business doing the same thing, but on my own. No boss. I worried that I wouldn’t find enough clients fast enough. However, I have found more people that need small business bookkeeping than I ever knew existed. I don’t even feel less stable. Before if my company down-sized, I would be out a job entirely, but now if I lose one client, I still have a dozen more to help me pay my mortgage, etc. I also love eating chocolate, but I have to accept that it’s not really practical as a job. Find something that people want to pay for. Anyway, I’m so much happier. I always thought the people on HGTV that need offices because they work from home were ridiculous, but you can make it happen. I don’t think you’re entitled to a dream job, but with a realistic dream, you can work to get closer to it.

  • Kati Says:

    There is a part of “doing what you love” that has yet to be addressed – sometimes the job you love comes with tasks you loathe. I’m a high school science teacher and I absolutely love the teaching part of my job. I feel most like myself in front of my students.

    The administrative part of it blows – the endless, individual accommodations to review and implement, the strategy-of-the-moment I must incorporate into every lesson no matter how poorly it fits in, the paperwork, the grading, the personal development plans no-one notices unless they’re not turned in on time, yadda yadda yadda. It is when I am up last midnight, ignoring my own children for the hundredth time, that I begin to question why oh why I didn’t just take a 9-to-5 job. But I always get up at 4:30 the next morning, because I cannot truly imagine doing anything else.

    So I guess I’m saying that sometimes one’s dream job comes with crusty bits you’ve got to scrape off each day to get to the good stuff.

  • Poeticplatypus Says:

    I like the job that I have. Right now I’m working as a massage therapist. Personally, the real answer comes from what is the essence of what you like to do? I enjoy helping people so being able to touch a person’s life for an hour or so is fulling to me. Granted I wish that my work wasn’t commission based, but everything has its pros and cons.

  • Amy Says:

    I AM my job. I think there are some professions (some traditional, some invented) that can really only be done well by people who are born to do them. I’m a middle school science teacher, and I can’t think of a single thing in the world I’d rather be or that I’d be better at.

    Kati, I just scrolled up and saw your comment, which made me chuckle since it is so similar to mine. I also hate the administrative stuff, but am so lucky to now be teaching in a very small school where the teachers make the decisions, so that end of things is WAY better.

  • Annabelle Says:

    While it’s a great goal to work toward, I think it’s unrealistic to think that everyone can make a good living doing something they love. Not all activities pay a good wage even if you’re great at them, and not everyone is going to be great at the things they love doing.

    On the other hand, getting paid for doing something you like well enough and having time for doing things you love on the side is much more within reach.

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