Why "do what you love" is no good career advice

Why “do what you love” is no good career advice

I’ve committed this crime a few times. Maybe too much times to count with both my hands.

But I came to an enlightenment these days. And I think that the ones that will be more glad to be reading this are my parents. Hi, papa. Hi, mama.

Do what you love it’s bullshit. Specially because this encourages people to want to earn money by doing solely what they love. Otherwise they will be unfortunate the rest of their lives by working a horrible job from 9 to 5.

This is what I have been recently exposed to: people who seem passionate with their job because it’s what they love doing. And they get to do it all the time by getting money. How awesome is that?

But there’s a difference. There’s a nuance no one seems to tell except for people who are really honest with you. And throughout this blog, I am trying to be the most honest I can. I’d hate myself if I lied. Anyway, this nuance is the following:

If you love doing something, you will keep doing it your whole live. You will be nurturing your heart and your gut with it. Because money it’s not important when you have a passion.

But of course you have to eat. And life is expensive. That’s why you would need a job. A 9 to 5 job that provides you money to spend time with what you love doing. So I am mad to all the people who sell this illusion that anyone can live through their passion.

This is what happens to a vast majority of people: they throw away their lives to solely dedicate to their passion. Putting in hours and hours of work through their passion. But they end up doing nothing worth sharing. Because they start working 24/7 thinking that because they put more hours into it, they end up being more productive. Don’t tell yourself that you work nonstop because you love your work: If you really loved your work, you’d take a break so you don’t mess it up.

If you work all the time, you lose your edge.

And there’s even one more epiphany in this post: relationships make your life great, not jobs. So value relationships.

A job can ruin your life by making you feel out of control in terms of your time. But no job will make your life complete. Your level of optimism and quality of relationships impact your level of happiness more than your job does.

It’s a myth mostly propagated by people who tell you to do what you love. I do agree that doing what you love will make you feel fulfilled. But you don’t need to get paid for it. Because you will still do it anyway.

And if you are so overwhelmed that you feel depressed, consider getting a job. It might save you. Doing work and being valued in the community is important because for better or worse, we value people with money. Doing work you love is not so important. We value love in relationships. Make some.

And the good news is that you get to choose the people you’re surrounded with. There’s amazing people in the world. There’s not always misfortune. Like yesterday, while talking to my mom:

– Like the time I cycled back home at 3 a.m. – I said.

– What? When you were living in Amsterdam? You were drunk?! – She said.

– Just a little. We drank some beers and then I cycled back home. But all streets looked the same and I got lost.

My mom starts to get worried and her eyes are widely opened

– Yeah, and I found these two arabic guys with a car and asked me if I was lost. I said “yes, I am going to Bos en Lommer”. And they told me they were going too. I could ride my bike behind their car if I wanted. I trusted them. And I got home. – I said.

– But imagine al the things that could have happened to you!!! – she said.

Yeah. I can imagine that. But it didn’t happen. Because there’s also good people in the world. And sure, we can always picture a worst case scenario in our heads. But we have to learn to trust. And trusting people seems to be a lacking skill in my family. I am working on that. But not at 3 a.m. after drinking beers.

But the point here was that people is good. And relationships are nurturing. More money does not make more happiness. Keep doing what you love, but make some money first. If you eventually end up making more money with what you love than with your 9 to 5 job, quit that job and fully dedicate to your passion. It only happens to 0.09% of the population. Because otherwise you’ll go broke.

Share your opinions & thoughts in the comments below ;)

Main photograph by James Maher