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May 04, 2009

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I am an architect, I like what I do and I make a decent living. It is a lot of work for the money you earn.

The saying does not say "Do something fun and the money will follow" it says do something you "love". This means something you are pationate about not that you have fun doing the work. I do not believe you can be very successful in life if you do not love what you do. Yes, you can make a living and then have fun on the weekend at something you do not enjoy. But if you are not passionate about your work then you will never be a success.

People who find jobs that they love exist, however I would consider them to be noticeable outliers. For most people having a job that they "Love" is almost impossible.

If you want to define "love" as fun then most things that are purely fun don't pay. There just aren't that many professional video game players, professional campers or professional gardeners out there.

If you want to define "love" as passion then you'll quickly discover that most people aren't passionate about their jobs. Here's just a few reasons why people may not be passionate about their work.

- No chance of advancement due to educational, experiential, institutional or other employment ceiling.
- Bad boss or work environment.
- History of bad employers making them jaded.
- They don't consider the work to be meaningful.
- Pay not consummate with their experience/education/performance.
- Pay not consummate with their peers.
- Lack of recognition for their work.
- Their interests have shifted to something totally unrelated to their current career.
- They feel trapped in their job, feeling as though outside factors (family, debt, etc) prevent them from advancing or changing their job.
- Their job is a good fit for their educational background, but not their personality.
- They are just the kind of person who doesn't get passionate about things.

I agree with part 3 with one slight modification. A job that you like should pay enough money while also allowing enough free time. A job that pays well but doesn't allow enough time to pursue the things that you love won't be very useful.

I think quality of life is important. You want to be able to make a decent living, and have free time. It's kind of a balancing act. There are a lot of people who manage their money in such as way as to have "enough" for their needs, their future and still be able to enjoy life. That, I think, is the real trick.

I think, as Save Buy Live mentioned, that people who love what they do are outliers.

I have to disagree with all of the reasons SBL outlined, though. They do come into play, sure... but I think the #1 reason people don't love what they do is a poor attitude. The quality of your job is what you make of it.

I see people come into work everyday with poor attitudes... and what do you know it... they have lousy days. I treat everyday as a new day and I love my job. Go figure.

This is so not true. Lots of people I know have 'shadow careers'. They do something for a living, and on the side they do something they love. Me, for instance. I am a journalist. I loved it for a long time, but no longer. I have worked for 10 years at being a paid screenwriter. I have not yet earned a dime although I would love to do this for a living. I have had much praise for my work but no money to show for it.

I think you are skewing it a bit. For instance, all of the examples of things to do what you love have people who make lots of money. You mention that there are exceptions... I say be the exception.

There's also some things that you will have to do that you may not enjoy to succeed. For instance, if you run your own business, you will have to learn some accounting. Not everyone likes accounting but it has to be done.

Also, there isn't a guarantee of how much money will follow. Money may follow but you also may not have the beach house in Hawaii. But in the end it won't matter because you love waking up and going to work. If work is fun, and you spend most of your time at work anyways, then who cares about how much fun the rest of your time is.

You make money doing what you love ONLY if what you love pays and only if you have what it takes to do the job well. In some cases it works, in others - it doesn't.

"the #1 reason people don't love what they do is a poor attitude. "
Oh maybe they just love something else more?
Yes you can learn to like what you do or find a way to take satisfaction of whatever you choose. But the saying is not "choose to do what you are good at and what can bring you money and learn to love it". It says "do what you love first and the money will follow". This only works if you happen to love to do the type of job that pays money AND you happen to have the god-given ability to do it well. In some cases the degree of natural talent required is lower than in other cases: you just need basic ability rather than one-in-a-million. In some cases it takes the combination of great talent, a large amount of effort, money to support you while you are trying to make it and quite a bit of luck.

The obvious example is performing arts. Obviously you need talent: If your passion is to be a singing sensation and you are tone deaf, I don't quite think doing what you love will bring you money - unless you want to make money having people laugh at you, but this will only work for a while. Or if you want to a famous dancer. But even if you have some talent you may not make it. Just a simple example: every year 10,000 people graduate colleges with a degree in classical voice (i.e. opera). Out of them only about 200 manage to make a living doing what they love. I happen to chose opera because this is what I love, but you can substitute any other performing arts major (or passion) here - instrumental music, dancing, pop, acting, even humanities - and the numbers aren't going to be better.

On the other hand if you love medicine or engineering, you are likely to make money doing what you love.

But really, to me performing arts always come to mind when I hear "do what you love and the money will follow".

I agree with FMF here. I think blindly assuming that doing what you love will lead to financial success can be a giant mistake. My friend loves history and got a degree in history and then never got any employment related to history.

I think the trick is to find something you love/like and then figure out a way to make money from it. You can't always do it with everything but theres options. Maybe you love fishing. You can't really make a living off fly fishing but maybe you could make a living as a professional fishing guide.

Jim beat me to the punch. I think finding something you love to do is the first part, the second part is finding a way to monetize it.

But then again finding a way to monetize something probably isn't the same thing as doing it. For instance, you may like making quilts, but maybe it's not something you can make a lot of money doing. However, you could hire several quilt makers to increase your output, sell online, advertise, make partnership deals with other companies, etc. At some point you may be able to make money hand over fist, but at that point you're not making quilts, you're managing a quilt business.


Paul

By the way, the Bible says something similar. In Proverbs 22:29 it says, "Do you see a skilled man? He will serve kings. He will not serve unknown people." I guess that doesn't necessarily mean you'll make gobs and gobs of money, but that you become well known as a person skilled in X.


Paul

Interesting topic. I would say that doing what you love to do doesn't have much to do with being rich or not. A better aphorism would be Love what you do and be happy with what you have, allow yourself to be happy. That's the better philosophy in life.

Yes it's important to have passion in what you do and when you get to be in a high paying job you need to have passion or you won't make it... generally. But high paying jobs, while they may have moments of real pleasure, are usually mired in responsibility and just plain hard work. I am running a business of 500 people and need to make sure this stays on track. Every day. Every weekend, every holiday. Yes, I have capable help. But I am the ultimate person who is accountable. I get paid more than 6 figures for this but in exchange I have to give my full effort. Mental and emotional effort that makes the physical body tired at the end of the week.

If someone (investors, board members, etc) pay a high salary they expect high performance. The best position to be in is to create a successful business that allows you to catch your breath and enjoy the fruits of your work. In today's global competitive economy with the downturn we are all in, that becomes a dream that is very hard to achieve.

-Mike

I agree with FMF, jobs you love don't always pay. But depending on how important salary is, you may be able to make a living doing what you do. You also have to figure out how important it is to do something you enjoy v. something that makes loads of money. One of my first jobs was working for a lawyer, the father of a friend. One my first day he called me into his office and laid it out for me. He didn't enjoy practicing law but it provided well for his family, he said. I was shocked! I hated the boring paperwork and errands I had to run and decided I wanted to work in a field I really enjoyed. I've never made a ton of money, but I enjoy my work.

"the #1 reason people don't love what they do is a poor attitude."

This statement is true, but it doesn't provide us with any way to improve the situation. Are you just supposed to tell people to change their attitude? Then what? They'll probably look at you funny, say okay, and then flip you off behind your back.

If we want people to be happier and more productive at work we need to figure out why they aren't, not just write it off as poor attitude.

I've always found it easier to just enjoy what I am doing. Be where you are and enjoy it. I am happy and all my bills are paid. What more is there? Enjoy being in your own skin, don't strive for a new skin all the time.

I tried that. I loved working in skateboarding and so I got a job at a skate shop and I gave it 110% and I fought hard to stay there. However, when I graduated college I couldn't pay my student loans and was forced to get a "real" job.

So now, I love Skateboarding and the industry, but am working a stupid tech job because my education didn't help me out.

As Stephen Covey said in "The 7 Habits", 'If you love your job - you never have to work another day in your life.' <-- "WORK" being the operative word there. It doesn't feel like work if you are enjoying it.

As a former executive recruiter, I can tell you that people choose a profession for the paycheck more times than not. They have this misguided belief that if they can make enough money, even in a miserable profession, it will afford them the financial freedom to do what they love on the side. This is mistake #1. When you are miserable at something you devote 40-50 hours a week at, you may have financial freedom - but that is NOT "time freedom."

Folks... we only have 24 hours in any given day. We only have one family, one set of lungs, legs, eyes, ears... and we only have so much time on this earth. I know for a fact, as I am living, breathing proof - that if you truly love what you do, the money WILL follow. When you are happy, loving life, loving your chosen career, putting forth passion and fervor - people are drawn TO you.

Wishing you all the health, wealth and happiness that you seek.

Peace out.
Candy Loya, Fun Therapist

I have to say, the people I see who do what they love and can make a living at it at are both talented (more-so than others) and are obessed with their chosen field. I like the mixture that was stated in the article. Find something you LIKE or that INTERESTS you. I have a young family to feed but my guitar playing and design hobbies will not pay for it. I don't make a dime from either. I could spend all my free time trying to do that for the next 10 years but what would happen to my family?

I have a 65k a year job that pays the bills and then some, I really don't like my work so I'm out for something different that interests me. I'm out for something that INTERESTS me. I restated that because for most of us, that's reality. I found a job that I can make a good deal more money and that interests me, I have an interview in a few weeks. I would not show up for this job if they didn't pay me but it looks like a healthy balance of both. That is the key to me.

From the time we are in grade school, this concept of "do something you love.." is pushed on us. I hate it. A job is a paycheck. Find a job you like well enough, put in 40 hours of hard work, and enjoy the other 128 hours a week of your life.

I think forcing this idea of 'make your work your passion' and similar only perpetuates the harmful notion that our life and identity is nothing more than our vocation.

Interesting.............here's one for you......I never wanted to go to school.......I never wanted responsibilities, I never wanted to feel like "I had to" Obviously these are extreme thoughts.......

Most jobs Ive had were either; fun temporarily, Out of fear to NOT be able to pay bills, hated being broke,etc etc etc.......the end result was always the same....either quit or got fired because consistancy levels dropped eventually.

I think we are everchanging by nature. To do the same thing for 20 years is spiritual slavery unless you NATURALLY love it! Maybe the problem is the bills we create to make it seem like we "fit IN" or are successful. (houses, cars, blondes, whatever)

In any case, i wanted to be a Singer, and i loved the art of cartooning, which i was pretty darn good too, I never could find a market for what I did........it was crushing when I thought, my god, I have no real career, and the only things that mattered to me arent working.............So whats the answer??? WHO KNOWS!!!

But one thing is for sure......The relationships you build and the people in your life in the longrun will outweigh how much money you have........Thats the real Success!!!! Do you feel like you matter because of how others see you, Do you laugh alot???

Most of us recall our happiest moments clearly; usually our childhood buddies.........Which In my case......had nothing to do with money.......I miss those days.........

-Cheers

Chris

And then there's the thinking, that you can learn to love anything. In other words, maybe the job you have is not exactly your cup of tea or your bliss, but you find aspects of it that force you to grow and learn something new. Before you know it, you accept and even enjoy your new job, I know, because I've experienced it. Even survivors of the Holocaust found small pockets of joy in their horrible circumstances (read Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl,) so I think attitude can make anything more agreeable or at least tolerable.

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