Monday, March 23, 2015

doing what you love vs doing what you must

doing what you love work ethic

I need to preface this post with a short statement: I wrote this a little while ago, and had it saved in my drafts, unsure of whether or not to post it. I mentioned to you on Friday that I start a new job this week, and it looks like it could be something I'm going to really love - but I wrote this when I was feeling a little disheartened with my job search and my old job. Whilst I love the people there (most of them haha) and the skills it gave me... wasn't challenging me in the way that I wanted from a job. But It was a job, and I know that in this climate, I am extremely lucky to have one! And that is the point of this post, even though my bitterness may come through, that any job that pays you decently enough, you should be grateful for, because a lot of other countries and millions of other people don't have it half as good as us.

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This idea for a blog post sprung out of a recent twitter chat I had with some other bloggers: the idea of loving what you do for a living. Whilst I think this is a lovely idea, it does present it's own set of problems...

I wish for a day when I can do solely what I really enjoy most in life (which is essentially baking, knitting, blogging, and going to the gym) and not worry about money, as do a lot of us, I suppose. But there are very few people I imagine, who can say they they really love every aspect of their job. And if you are one of those people, well done, you have it made! 

But for the majority of people, I feel like that isn't the case. When I was at uni, I shared a studio with a relatively nice, middle-aged lady, who decided she didn't care about getting good grades, good feedback, or looking for a job afterwards, because she had done all those things when she was younger. She had a very well off husband, which allowed her to just, sit around and paint all day. There was no need to earn money from it, her children were grown up so she had the time. She had it made, and yeah, I envied that, but it's not a common reality for a lot of people. To me it all felt very... boring. 

If I just sat on my arse all day and did what I loved, I'd have no money, my parents wouldn't let me live with them, I'd have no cash, no way of getting a job, either, probably, without references and current employers. I probably wouldn't love that. Also, you can't enjoy the daytime without a night, can you? If I never worked, I probably wouldn't enjoy the sitting around at home, baking and knitting, because it wouldn't feel special! I relish my weekends and days off, because I can fill them with the things I adore, and they feel like little treats to me.

I don't wish to belittle people who are genuinely doing what they love, because deep down, who doesn't want that? But the do what you love mantra is bandied about in a way that borders on derogatory towards people that aren't doing what they're MOST passionate about; it degrades people that work to get by. If you're lucky enough to be doing what you love, that's cool, but I often find those people that are, are quite militant about other people following their dreams. It's good to have dreams and passions and wants in life, and it's good to work towards them, but you've got to be realistic at the end of the day.

I'll be honest that I'm not sure where I'm going with this, maybe I'm just confirming to myself, that it's okay to not do what I'm most passionate about in life, because doing that job that I must do enables me to do all the things I love. It gives me money and stability through which I can then pursue my dreams, etc. I can work for minimum wage because I need to eat, and hopefully one day I'll be able to do what I really and truly want that will put money in the bank and food in the fridge. Until then, there's the job I've got and the job I do love, in a weird way, because it gives me that freedom. 

If you're interested in this, here is an article I read recently on Jacobin Mag about the do what you love mantra, which talks about this all in much more depth!


  1. Ooh I really enjoyed reading this Clare. This is something I struggle with a lot, the whole doing what you love vs. what you must. I'm very, very, pinch-myself, lucky in that I work slap bang in the field that I adore, studied for and always dreamed of, but in the same vein, I actually wonder daily if this is 'it' for me. Because when I was working towards this, I'd imagined it to feel more fulfilling, challenging and directional in a way? Instead I feel like I've settled for something that is less than I could achieve and often worry that I'm losing my passion for it all. It's difficult to put my finger on it! x

  2. I'm glad you did post this. People do sometimes need a reality check and even those that do do what they love most likely had a string of boring jobs before that. Whenever I used to hate on my job I too would think how lucky I am to have it and what a fortunate situation I am in compared to billions across the globe.

    What are you doing now? It's fantastic that you are now doing something better now - congratulations! x

    Amy at

  3. Yes yes and yes! It's so easy to say if you don't love your job to just leave it (which I've seen so many times on twitter lately) but when you have bills to pay, food to put on the table and whatever else, it's never that easy! To be able to say it's not worth being in a job you don't love, that's a super privileged position and those saying it, more and more don't seem to realise that!

  4. I really agree with what you wrote, even though it might not be applicable to you anymore (congrats on the new job btw!) Being able to "do what you love" and "not think about the money" is something only a privileged few can afford to do. Like you said, it does degrade people who are doing their best to survive in the world.

  5. I completely agree with this sentiment. Especially, "But the do what you love mantra is bandied about in a way that borders on derogatory towards people that aren't doing what they're MOST passionate about; it degrades people that work to get by. If you're lucky enough to be doing what you love, that's cool, but I often find those people that are, are quite militant about other people following their dreams." ! x

  6. Haha, you know what's funny? I've seen tons of those "do what you love" images (mostly on pinterest) and I didn't realise they meant "do what you love for a living", I thought they just meant "do what you love at some point during the day. Or week. Or month"! I feel pretty dumb! This was a v. interesting read, particularly as I'm currently looking for a new job (congrats on yours btw). My Dad always used to say there are four points to a job: team, actual work that you do, location and pay. If you're happy with at least 2 out of 4 you're doing pretty good. I think you're right though, your job doesn't have to define you, it can be a means to an end to bankroll you to do the things you love.

  7. To be fair, you can interpret them many ways, like you say! I always see the same comments crop up on Twitter or Pinterest, how theres no point in working in a job that you aren't passionate about - and I just see that as an irresponsible statement, in a way.. not everyone has the luxury to work from their passions or hobbies, sometimes you just gotta work!
    Your dad is on to something there, I think!

  8. I'm so glad people agree! :) Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! x

  9. Thanks! I'm glad you agree, I think it's a very privileged view to take, and not one I'm a fan of!

  10. I HATE that idea - that you can just quit a job you hate. Nope, you can't. At the very end of it all, you have bills to pay, like you said, you need to eat, you can't just quit everything in the idea that you need to work what you love!
    Thanks for reading and commenting :)

  11. I'm so glad you agree! You've got to pay your dues, I always think, those that work hard will be rewarded in the end, hopefully. And like you said, we have it so much easier in the Western world compared to a lot of places.
    I've just got a job in a telecoms company, it's pretty awesome though, thank-you!

  12. Thanks Michelle! Sorry for taking so long to get back to you - I've been busy! Haha. I know what you mean - it's hard to find a balance between everything, even if you're not head of heels in love with it, it enables you to live a lovely life, have nice things, see friends and live in exciting places (I think, from reading your blog anyway! haha) and thats what makes it so great. I just hate this attitude of looking down on people if they don't subscribe to this do what you love mantra!


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