‘Do what you love for a living’, ‘Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’… they’re such over exhausted sentiments. Cheesy mantras repeated so often, the words become void of value or meaning.
But why should we really be seeking out a career path we love? To do what you truly enjoy for a living seems like a fantasy, exclusive to the outliers and fortunate exceptions. It’s an illusion we buy into as soon as we become vocal as children and are asked, ‘what do you want to be when you’re older?’
When you were a child you had probably already committed yourself to career path solely based on enjoyment. A 7-year-old doesn’t want to be a surgeon to go home with a hefty pay, she wants to help sick people feel better. A child isn’t concerned that being an artist will leave him living pay check-to-pay check, he simply loves to paint.
So when do we swiftly abandon our idyllic dreams? Probably around the age of 15 or 16. At which point in our lives we actually begin to work. We work to earn money, with a priority in earning lots of it, or maybe even for status. Of course, we all need to work in exchange for money in order to support ourselves, that isn’t the problem…
The problem is that we grit out teeth and convince ourselves to just get through the day, go home and switch off, and repeat that cycle for about 40 hours per week. Forty hours of your week, you spend restlessly waiting for the day to end. You wake up and wish it was evening. Then in the late evening you wish it wasn’t almost morning.
Looking at the timeline of our lives -we begin working at about 15-18. Usually pick up full time employment at around 18-23. Then the process of gritting your teeth and anticipating the moment you get to walk out the door becomes a daily occurrence five times a week, until we are about 55-65. That’s about 2,000 hours a year -83 days that we spend miserably getting by in a job you aren’t satisfied with.
That’s 109 months and around 10 years in the average lifetime spent wishing the time away…
Now if you aren’t yet convinced that it is essential you should spend that 10 years of your life void of utter misery, here are some other benefits of doing what you love…
- Learn to love it
Before you quit your office job and run off to pursue your lifelong dream of busking in Byron Bay… consider whether you prescribe to the unspoken expectation that everyone hates their job. Instead of seeking out something you love, you can also learn to appreciate and love what you already do. Thrive in the environment you’re already in, capitalise on the opportunity and try to enjoy the time you spend there. Perhaps your daily ritual is to grumpily waltz in, avoid eye contact and trivial small talk with anyone that crosses your path. Instead, interact with the people around you. Establishing friendships with the people in your workplace will lighten your mood, positive interaction is energising. It’s also great to have a support system in place within your workplace, it will minimise or eliminate feelings of isolation. Learning to love your career and applying yourself can ignite your passion for it.
- Purpose & Ease
Doing what you love, or learning to love it gives you a sense of purpose. You feel you add value to the field you’re in, and in turn you feel valued by doing so. The burdens of your job will lighten, and you won’t feel as drained from having to tackle complications. It is extremely difficulty to overcome a roadblock in your career if you don’t really care about what it is you’re doing in the first place. Although it isn’t necessarily ‘easy’ to overcome obstacles, you’ll be more driven to tackle them and the sense of reward for doing so increases tenfold.
- Stress & Wellbeing
Having a career you despise is extremely detrimental to your happiness. Being in a state of misery 40 hours per week is stressful. Stress is detrimental in a physical sense, as well as your mental wellbeing. Not doing something you can enjoy is essentially wreaking havoc on your health.
Channel your inner child and ask yourself what you want to be when you grow up? You are still growing after all! Embrace your current career or pursue one that doesn’t make you spend your Sunday’s in a depressive state in anticipation of the work week to come.