I read a lot of blogs these days, and one theme I see often is that one key to success is ‘doing what you love’.
This point was reinforced when I was reading Squirreler’s post that reveals the secrets of millionaires. (His post is actually based on an article from US News and World Report.) Squirreler writes the following:
Do What You Love. I’m working on this one. When I was younger, I thought that it was all about making money, not necessarily liking what it is you’re doing. As I have gotten older, I realize that life is a gift, and we need to enjoy it. The thing is, we need to enjoy it responsibly. With a family and major responsibilities, sometimes we have to be careful with risks to our income streams and just make money. Ideally, though, if we do what we truly love, our passion will shine through and we’ll be successful in the long run. Or so the story goes. I do actually believe that to a large degree, but one must balance this with the reality that some careers do pay more and offer better options than others.
I absolutely agree with the premise of Squirreler’s statement. Whether it is school, work, or an exercise regimen, you will most likely be successful in your endeavor if you enjoy what you are doing. (I know I personally could not pay attention at all at school if I was not interested in the topic. When the subject was boring, I decided to focus on the crossword puzzle that was in the school newspaper instead.)
However, what if it is not feasible to do what you love? For instance, I love reading and drinking hot cocoa. As far as I know, there is not a niche market for those two activities. Yes, you could say that I could try and find a job as a book reviewer or something, but I want to read books that I know I will enjoy. I know I wouldn’t be lucky enough to get to review the best financial books. I would be stuck reviewing books on the history of Shakespeare, which would take me about 7 years, and I would end up paying my son to do it for me. So, I am very particular when it comes to my dream job.
Obviously, reading and drinking cocoa is an extreme example of a dream job. I do recognize that some people are actually successful at finding what they love and making a living doing it. However, I would guess the majority of people do not actually do what they truly love, and like Squirrelers says, there is that reality of having a career that pays well and has a promising future.
So, I am going to turn the tables and advise loving what you do instead. I recognize that is not an easy task, but your attitude toward your job is totally up to you. I have been in that boat where you don’t like your job. Deadlines have moved up against my wishes, people didn’t do the work they were supposed to do, you name it. I got angry and it affected my entire outlook. However, I could have chosen to view it differently. I could have focused on the flexibility my job offers and the fact that I get to attend every one of my children’s events. I could have accepted that I can’t control other people and just done the job at hand instead of taking things personally.
Therefore, this time around with my job, I am really trying hard to like what I do. (Love may not happen ever…) I have learned from my 9 months employment hiatus that I need to try and detach myself from work and recognize that my job is not my entire being. By doing that, I will hopefully reduce my frustration level and just appreciate the money I make and the freedom I have. I know I will have bad days, but I realize that I made myself hate my job since I am the one in control of my emotions. I am not saying that every job can be ‘liked’, but it is at least worth a try.
What do you think? Do you think you can ever ‘learn’ to love/like what you do?