I’m sure you’ve heard this old chestnut before:
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Confucius (maybe, anachronistically it doesn’t really make sense…)
I’m probably not the first person to say this, but that’s bullshit.
It doesn’t matter what career path or business you pursue, parts of it will most definitely feel like WORK. Welcome to adulthood.
It might be that the part that feels like work is the people (coworkers or customers) you have to deal with, answering emails, going to meetings, marketing yourself, handling customer service, or any of a multitude of other things. And yes, you can put systems in place to make those parts of the job less painful. But there are still going to be things that feel like work on at least some of the days.
Does that mean you shouldn’t try to find work you love? Absolutely not. A career path that you like 80% of the time is a whole lot better than one you dislike 80% of the time, no matter how you slice it.
And here’s the thing about doing something you love most of the time: the work you produce will be better. As in, noticeably better.
Think about it: if you don’t like what you’re doing, you’re probably only putting in the minimum effort to get it done as fast as you can. As long as it gets the job done, who cares?
But if you love the work, if you feel like it’s fulfilling and serves your purpose in life, then you’re going to keep trying to improve. You’ll take your time finishing things and aim to make each iteration better than the last one (even if you’re in a service business, you’ll continuously try to improve yourself).
Most days, you’re not sitting there watching the clock, waiting for the minutes to tick by until you can punch out and go home. You’re focused, instead, on the work at hand and making sure it’s the best you can produce.
And this SHOWS when your customers or clients or boss or whoever looks at the finished product. They might not be able to pinpoint that it’s because you loved what you were doing, but they’ll be able to tell that something about the finished product stands out.
If you’ve got to devote 6-12 hours/day, 4-6 days/week doing something to earn a living, wouldn’t it be better if those hours and days were spent doing something you enjoyed most of the time?
For me, that’s writing. I’ve loved writing since I was old enough to write (probably first grade or so). It’s always been my passion. But it’s really the storytelling aspect that I love. And I’ve found other ways to do that where I can earn a living that aren’t 100% based on writing: marketing, primarily. Any job where I can flex my storytelling muscles will make me happier than a job where I’m not contributing to the story of a company, person, or other entity.
Sit back and think about the kind of work you love. Figure out how to incorporate that into your current job, or the kind of career that might be able to better serve that purpose.
I’ll be covering more about how to find your true purpose (your bliss) in the coming weeks and months, so be sure to sign up below. And leave a comment if there’s something in particular you’d like me to cover!
Also published on Medium.