Maybe You Don’t Have to Love Your Job

We’ve all heard the advice to follow our dream, to find a job we are passionate about.

In an ideal world, we would all find a job that we love, that pays well, that challenges us, and has great co-workers.

But unfortunately life doesn’t always work that way.

We may find a job that we really like, but it doesn’t pay well.

Or we may have a job that pays quite well, but we can’t stand going to work every day.

So what do you do?

The traditional advice typically seems to be to go with the job that you really like even if it doesn’t pay well, as opposed to sticking with a job you hate because it pays well.

Doing so, according to those who offer such advice, will make your work hours more enjoyable, and you will derive many psychic benefits from such a job. In the reverse scenario, you may end up being grouchy all day, and not just on the job.

And up until a few days ago, I used to feel the same way.

But all of the traveling we have been doing this past month made me rethink things a bit.

Maybe you have a job you just love, but it pays so little that you are unable to do some of the things you really would like to do. Things like traveling, going to plays and concerts, or going out for a nice meal may have to be sacrificed because you opted to be in a job you love, but does not pay much.

Now imagine the reverse situation. You are in a job that pays fairly well, but you really do not enjoy it. However, come five o’clock on weekdays and you might be going off to a play or out for a drink, or on Friday afternoon heading away for a weekend by the sea.

The second option gives you a chance to do things that you enjoy, whereas the first option did not.

Perhaps people should be more willing to think of a job as a means to an end, and that you don’t have to love it. But if it enables you to do things that you do love, that may be the best job for you.

So yes, in an ideal world, you may find a high-paying job you absolutely love, and you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labor during your non-working hours.

However, in the more likely event that you have trouble finding such a job, rather than looking for a job that is a passion of yours, it may be worthwhile finding a high paying job that you can’t stand, since such a job may permit you to pursue the things you are passionate about.

So maybe that guy down the street who seems to have a dead-end job may be sticking with it because that job helped him buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood, help take his family on some nice vacations,  help pay for his kids to participate in some after school activities, and help him contribute to his favorite charities. So yea, he might not like his job, but he could be quite happy, partly because of his job.

Note that my thoughts on this topic are still in their formative stage, but I wanted to put them in writing as a way of trying to make sense of what I am thinking.

2 thoughts on “Maybe You Don’t Have to Love Your Job

  1. You’re not alone to question that. Live to work or work to live… either path can be the right path for happy people (or unhappy people. Some people who follow their passion are miserable! )

    This article was good on how we can stumble on career happiness. And our desires change as we get older

    But I liked Jim Carrey’s graduation speech too… if you’re going to fail at something, it might as well be at something you love.

    So, at least follow your interests, if not your obsessions. Obsessions make nice hobbies if they don’t pay well 🙂


    1. I like the way you put it; work to live or live to work. that’s what I was trying to get at, and you summed it up in seven words. thanks for those links; I am a sucker for graduation speeches but I have not seen Jim Carrey’s, and I look forward to reading the minimalists article.


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