Can You Really “Do What You Love” All the Time?

I’m very fortunate. I have a career that I enjoy. I work from home as a freelance writer. I have a lot of freedom, and, since I enjoy writing, I really do get to live the “do what you love” mantra that seems so pervasive in today’s career advice.

However, can you really expect to enjoy your work all the time? And what does it say for those who are working careers they aren’t particularly fond of in the name of survival?

What are Your Options?

What it really comes down to, I think, is whether or not your work is meaningful. This doesn’t mean that you absolutely love every second of your work. In fact, you might even hate your work. But is it meaningful?

So often, we don’t have a lot of options for work. When I finished my undergraduate degree, I was in a small town with limited job options. My husband was still working on his degree, and job options were limited. I worked as a cashier at a farm and ranch store for almost a year because I didn’t have much choice in terms of a stable schedule. I had thought of waiting tables — since I’d done a bit of that in college — but at the time restaurant choices were limited and it just wasn’t going to work.

I didn’t like being a cashier, and I definitely wasn’t “doing what I loved.” Many of us don’t always have the option to work in a job that we love all the time. However, even though I wasn’t excited about my job, I did acknowledge that it was meaningful. I was able to put food on the table. We could pay our rent. Realizing that my contributions mattered to my family was one of the things that kept me going.

Of course, I didn’t think that cashiering was my only option. I kept looking through the Classifieds and applying for other work. Eventually, I was able to use my degree and I landed a job in advertising with the local newspaper. That in turn led to my interest in journalism, my graduate degree, and the fact that I now earn a living from home. My career path didn’t start out with me doing what I loved. I had to “pay my dues” doing something I didn’t like until I was able to take advantage of opportunities.

It’s Not All Sunshine and Rainbows

Of course, even if you end up with a dream career, it’s still not always fun all the time. There are days when, even though I like writing, that I don’t really love what I do. Some days, I wish that I didn’t have to work with certain clients, or I feel really uninspired on some days.

The reality of life is that there are ups and downs. Things aren’t always going to be perfect. Just because you’re having a bad day (or a bad week or a bad month) is no reason to abandon your job. It makes more sense to plan your exit, and look for a better situation. And remember that even the best job isn’t always going to be perfect all the time.

About the Author

Miranda writes about financial topics for several web sites. Her blog is Planting Money Seeds, and her book, Confessions of a Professional Blogger, is available on Amazon.