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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bad Career Advice: Do What You Love and You'll Never Work a Day

Bad Career Advice: Do What You Love and You'll Never Work a Day

"Oh man, this one kills me. It’s so frequently repeated that hardly anyone questions its truth anymore. And the sad fact is this: If you do what you love for a living, you’ll probably end up loving it a little bit less...

This is a blatant, hurtful lie that far too many people fall for. And they end up feeling like something is wrong with them, when really something is wrong with the idea they’ve been sold.

When something you love becomes work, it fundamentally—and unavoidably—changes the way in which you interact with it...

Work is called work because it’s not play. Once you depend on something to put food on your table, it becomes something different. It’s no longer “that thing you do for fun,” it’s “that thing you have to do for survival.”

That doesn’t mean you won’t end up enjoying or maybe even loving the work you do. But it will also be work. You probably won’t mistake it for anything else.

Once you take an activity you love (for me, writing) and start doing it for pay, you involve the opinions and needs of others. Writing for a living means I often have to set aside my personal artistic vision, and simply follow the instructions of my client. I sometimes call myself a “writer monkey” because I feel so caged in.

I still write for myself, to explore my own ideas and personal style, and, on most days, I’d say I love the work I do…but these are two different things. The writing I do for work is not the writing I do for play...

Work is about more than the thing you’re doing. It offers nourishment in a number of different ways. So, when you think about finding work you’ll enjoy (work that, hopefully, can be truly nourishing) think about the entire experience.

It’s dangerous to suggest that work can be anything other than work. Doing what you love can certainly make it a more enjoyable experience. But you’ll also experience a new side of that activity, and it won’t be comfortable...

I’m very lucky to do what I love for a living. But sometimes, I’m like the gourmet chef who lives off takeout and frozen meals. When you do an activity all day long and depend on it for survival, the playfulness can disappear quickly. Just like in a marriage, it sometimes takes effort to stay in love. At the end of the workday, I have to force myself to write for pleasure after I’ve been writing for eight hours already.

Do I sound cynical? Perhaps a little. But too many people sit around convinced that if only they could turn their NASCAR obsession into a fulltime job, they’d finally be happy. I encourage you to take a deeper look at the things you love and what work means to you. There might be a happy intersection of the two, but don’t force it."
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