It's not uncommon to hear the phrase, 'Do what you love and the money will follow.' Upon first glance, it seems like good advice. What kind of risk is there in doing something you love?
Well, it seems there may be more of a risk than many of us are led to believe. This story from JD Roth highlights the nightmare that we often overlook:
I realized that the job I loved so much was actually destroying me.
Let's take a step back and examine the reasons why people get into jobs they love. Some people love getting up in the morning and feeling good about their workplace. Some people love having the feeling that they are making a difference. Obvious reasons aside, the fact that we spend a significant chunk of our time at work is enough to encourage anyone to pursue a career they actually enjoy.
In this reader's case, pursuing his life dream of becoming a high-school math teacher ended up being a great short term decision, but over time, it wore on him so much — emotionally and financially — that he gave it up and went back to school to eventually become an accountant.
His advice: Get out there and grab what affords you the most opportunities to be the best overall person you can be. It's advice that goes directly against the advice of 'doing something you love.'
Says the reader:
But consider that if there's some kind of work you're so emotionally vested in, even if it satisfies you, getting into it may come at a cost that you cannot anticipate. I for one will never encourage anyone to 'do what they love' ever again.
The Leap From Desire To Passion
What the reader is really talking about here isn't passion, even though he calls it that. He's really talking about desire. People who follow their desires aren't always able to turn that desire into passion. People who follow their desires may not necessarily like what they get. This is one case of that mantra playing out — and while we hate to see it, there's no question that his decision to follow his desire ended up greatly inhibiting his happiness.
The initial desire to teach ended up withering away with the challenges the job presented. He could no longer deal day in and day out with students who had problems, such as drug addiction and gang affiliation. Nor could he deal with the administration. In other words, he had the desire to be a teacher, but he wasn't completely invested in all that went into being one. He didn't have the passion to carry him through.
Here at ZURB, we're all about following our passions and chasing after our goals at the highest level. While his story does elicit some caution, personal passion does not necessarily need to wane when you pursue what you want to accomplish. Here are three points you should consider for keeping your passion intact:
- It's important to find the deeper meaning in any task you do. If you approach your tasks like a robot — focusing on execution without fully understanding the long-term impact of your work — you'll burn out fairly fast.
- Take challenges head-on when you run into them. With any career, challenges will rise along the way, so take this to heart and be ready to address them when they arise.
- If you're considering pivoting your career path, consider all options that could be a good fit for where your skills lie. Let's say a web developer wants to get into a marketing position. Through emphasizing key skills that translate directly to the new position, such as analytical ability and attention to detail, a developer could position him/herself well for a new career path.
Keeping these things in mind, you could find that yourself completely invested in what you do. And have the passion to carry you through. How do you keep your passion intact?