Little Miss Money at The Pursuit of Riches is thinking about getting a new job. And so she is fretting about finding what she loves to do.
I told her that doing what you love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
As my mom wrote a few years ago, the idea of your job defining you is a pretty new concept. A few decades ago, a job was what you did to live; your life (and probably passion) was what you did outside work. And, frankly, I think we’ve strayed a little far from that.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do what you love if you know what that is.
But what if you don’t? There’s a lot of pressure and presumption that anything other than a labor of love, if you’ll forgive the pun, is a basic lack of ambition. That no one could possibly be content as a receptionist or a food server.
I work as a customer service representative. Most people would call it a job, but I will never leave, thanks to the world’s best boss. So I consider it a career. It doesn’t give meaning to my life… but the paycheck sure does.
I couldn’t work for years. Now, each time I get a paycheck, I’m flood with an emotion that I can only describe as equal parts pride and greed. Well, 60/40 tops.
Maybe the ability to work — or, more realistically, the paycheck — should be a passion in and of itself. Whether due to unemployment or physical limitations, there are a lot of folks who wouldn’t care what they did, just that they could do it.
That doesn’t mean you can’t ever complain about your job. In some jobs, you have to vent if you want to stay sane. And some jobs truly are soul-sucking. (In which case, do try to find a different job; just don’t stress about it being the one true thing that will bring meaning to your life.)
And, hey, if you do have a passion, that’s fabulous. Follow it. But realize there are caveats.
First and foremost, I’m sick unto death of hearing, “Do what you love, and the money will follow.” If that were true, stores would never go out of business, actors would all be in big films or Broadway productions, and there would be a plethora of full-time bloggers. The fact is that following your bliss could be very dangerous financially.
Also, what happens if taking the plunge causes you to burn out on your passion entirely? What are you left with then? The blogger herself used to love interior design, but she became so disillusioned by the commercialism that she quit. She works in a related field, but still has a bad taste in her mouth about her old work.
And maybe that risk is worth it to you. If so, then by all means follow your calling.
But if you don’t have a calling, don’t sweat it. It’s okay to find fulfillment in something other than work. Maybe it’s more important to find it in life outside your job. Maybe it’s healthier to be able to delineate between your work and regular identities. Maybe instead of fueling our lives, our jobs could just fund them.