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Doing what you love vs. working for pay

by Celine on July 15th, 2008


In most industrial cultures, when a parent asks their child what they want to study in college, their desired field of study is measured against money.  Say “I want to study Fine Arts!” and your parent tells you to take up architecture instead.  Say “I want to become a novelist!” and people say it’s wiser to study journalism.  They say this as if journalists and architects are all about making money, and as if artists are always starving.

Is there really a dichotomy of doing what you love vs. working for money?

I don’t think so.  I think we are raised to believe in this false dichotomy.

To get to a more realistic perspective, we’ll have to look halfway between the scam artist who yells “Make money while you sleep!” and the pragmatist who preaches that working hard is the only way to earn a decent living.  On my personal quest to finding this midpoint, I’ve learned the following:

  • You can make money from doing what you love, so long as the driving force is the love of work itself and not the money.  Giving your work this kind of purity will prevent you from feeling enslaved by your hobby or passion, which is a risk if you try to make money from the things you love doing.
  • It’s not an either/or choice.  Especially in a world or industry where teleworking is possible.  If you can’t earn money doing what you love, you can spend half of your time doing what you love and spend the rest of your time working for pay - until you strike a desired balance between both.
  • Working smart helps a lot Be results-oriented vs being time-oriented.  It’s not about working for5 hours straight, it’s about what you do with those 5 hours.  This is especially important if, for example, by some unchangeable and insurmountable circumstances you are forced into a job you dislike. You need to have the maximum output for minimum input of time and effort - this will get you to spend less time on your job and more time on things you enjoy.

Were you ever faced with the dichotomy of doing what you love vs. working for pay?  How did you deal with it?

Photo Credit: Image from Ayhan Yildiz  from stock.xchng

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POSTED IN: Career, General work pimps, Working smart, Worklife Balance

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