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!