Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life – apart from on weekdays

Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

This statement, like all things happy-go-lucky and optimistic, annoys me to no end. It sounds all well and good, until you realise the job market is becoming increasingly slim and competitive that you’ll probably have to get a job in a coffee shop, or temping in an office whilst you do what you love on the side. Which makes for more of a cumbersome statement.

I love hiding in wardrobes. No one is willing to pay me to do that, and my rent is extortionate. The idea of everyone doing what they love is not feasible. The economy would plummet. The world’s population would be made up of musicians, painters, writers and people hiding in wardrobes. If we’re going to adopt this view, we’d best hope that a lot of people love the idea of working in Tesco, otherwise we’ll never get our groceries.

Perhaps, I am taking the statement far too literally – I do operate at that end of the spectrum where I take most things at face value. Maybe what is meant is – whatever you are doing, do your best to try and love it. Focus on the plus points, on the bonuses and the people, even if you hate them. That sounds good doesn’t it? So if you work in sewage treatment, you could focus on the knowledge that you’ll get a lot of money and the job market in your chosen field will never get too competitive. Or my personal favourite perk of that job: you can get a certain level of satisfaction knowing that you literally have to wade through and sort out everyone’s faecal matter rather than just metaphorically. It makes for a good conversation starter.

Wherever you work and in whatever field, find ways to make it satisfying. Find ways to make it amusing. Find ways to get through the day. I often find not wearing underpants gives me enough of a kick to get me through to lunchtime, but each to their own. It can be anything. There is that old saying ‘only boring people get bored.’ Which ironically, is usually said by incredibly dull individuals, but for the purpose of churning out more words, I will adopt its philosophy. If you find yourself bored in the office, find ways to make it entertaining. A creative type will always find ways to amuse themselves. Insert song lyrics into emails, see how many people notice. See how many coffees you can drink before you collapse in a caffeine induced fit of anxiety and despair. Become the guy who’s memorised the company handbook so you can pedantically quote it at other people to make their day slightly worse. Stand up and loudly declare ‘life is too short for this nonsense and I shall not waste another second!’ then storm out and never come back.

Maybe not. So what then?

In working life there appear to be two things of importance.

  1. A necessity to work to earn enough money not to be hungry.
  2. A personal necessity for self-fulfilment.

The trick is trying to keep the two balanced.

It’s true there are fulfilling things that don’t pay a great deal, just as there are jobs that pay enough to not be hungry, but to many are deeply unfulfilling. We seem to need both in order to live happy lives, I could get into Karl Marx’s alienation theory, but I sat through those lectures myself, and found they were incredibly boring so I shan’t.

Fulfilment may not necessarily come from occupational achievements, or doing a job you like, but from the location in which you live. If you’re not happy with this, change that first… then focus on a satisfying career… although to do so would require money, which in turn requires a job, which would directly influence where you can live. See, it’s all rather complicated. The people that live by this statement are either incredibly lucky, pretentious fuckwits with rich parents; or just find repetitive and menial tasks interesting and therefore consider themselves to be living the dream when analysing data.

I don’t really know where I’m going with this. I just really hate that quote, and I want everyone to stop using it.

 

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