Many people, especially young adults such as myself, are inundated with messages about pursuing our dreams and quitting our day jobs to run our own business. After all, life is too short to waste time doing something you’re not passionate about. However, I’ve come to realize that maybe it’s OK to be not passionate about work.
As a person who has tried numerous jobs before I landed by full-time content writing position, I’ve decided that it’s best not to mix my work with the things that feed my soul and invigorate me, such as my hobbies.
When money is involved, it tarnishes my pastimes. Here’s why.
My hobbies lose their intrinsic value
The reason why I love certain activities, such as writing, playing the piano, and even teaching piano, is because they’re intrinsically motivating. I engage in these activities simply because they bring joy and enable creative expression.
But when I get paid for to do these things, they lose their intrinsic value and become a means to an extrinsic goal: I start worrying about whether they can generate enough money.
When I worked at a music studio, I felt terrible that I wasn’t getting paid enough for the quality work that I was providing. And when I did increase my income by teaching privately at home, I had to set the bar very high to ensure my students were getting their money’s worth.
Similarly, after publishing my first book, I couldn’t help but constantly check my sales and wonder how many books do I need to sell before I can quit my day job. This takes away the fun of writing my next book.
Ironically, the great thing about work is that I’m not passionate about it. If my boss or client wants to do something that I’m not totally on board with, that’s fine. Because I’m not emotionally attached to my work. At the end of the day, I’m content that I can come home with a paycheck and focus on the things that are deeply gratifying.
There are many benefits of work, even if we dislike it
I don’t know where this idea of finding passion in your work comes from. Since the beginning of time, work is laborious. Most of our ancestors spend their lives doing arduous work, such as hunting or plowing the field, in order to survive. Today, many of us spend our time working at desk jobs, which can also be quite tedious.
I don’t speak on behalf of everyone. I know some people are very passionate about work. But for the majority of the population, work isn’t something that’s considered enjoyable.
Although work isn’t always fun, it’s still a positive aspect of our lives.
For one, it keeps us stable. Not having a job or an income can make us feel depressed because we don’t feel like we’re contributing to the economy and providing for ourselves.
As well, work can teach us many things. I believe I learned a lot of life skills through the various jobs I’ve had, including people skills, business, responsibility, time management, and grit. Work helps build character and grounds us in reality.
What about our passion?
I believe it’s still important to a live a life of passion. I think work is only a part of the bigger picture: it provides perspective on life and can help prompt us to pursue the things that we are passionate about. Although the things that we’re passionate about don’t necessarily pay the bills, they give us something that money can’t buy.
Disclaimer: My views have changed since writing this post. Here’s A letter to the office zombie. In short, don’t be a passive zombie!
8 thoughts on “I’m choosing not to be passionate about my job—and here’s why”
I’m a college freshman (soon to be sophomore) who likes to write but when I had completed my first internship at a startup, I realised that there’s a huge difference between writing for yourself and writing for an employer. The work can be tedious at times. I also learnt that they were way more satisfied with my work even when I felt like all what I had written was utter crap. I think it may be more due to my INFP personality type. It’s okay to have a job you’re not passionate about ’cause you may start wondering if it is your passion or not.
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I agree too. I just see work as a means to an end. The real passion starts when you come home. A lot of great people in history actually made their most meaningful contributions in their free time whilst working simple mundane jobs to fund their passions. Also I think it’s dangerous to equate our success purely with our careers. We’re becoming a society of workaholics.
Also these articles keep coming up at the perfect time! I’ve been struggling with this same crisis too but thankfully your article has put me to peace again.
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I’m glad to hear this! Sorry it took so long to respond.
Pursuing your passions as hobbies gives you true freedom with no employer to temper your creativity, it doesn’t create an elitist happiness where only those who get the correct qualification are allowed to do what they love and most importantly, it protects your sincerity.
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After so much reading, contemplating and inner struggle, I’ve also come to realize this. I am now content with my day job. Lucky that it doesn’t exhaust me too much and even leaves me plenty of time to pursue my hobbies. Living a balanced life is important. For INFPs like us, appreciating what we’ve already got and living true to ourselves are essential to happiness, I think 😀
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I agree. Once you add money to the equation, I feel, passion could be lost. The movie “Paterson” comes to mind. It is about a bus driver who is a poet. I highly recommend it, especially to other working INFPs. Work could be just for money and stability, that way, we don’t have to worry about such things when we are doing what we truly love. If you are one of the few people out there who have both, and without consequence, I envy you.