Doing What You Love
16 January 2014
There’s an article that bubbled up on my twitter feed several times today. I didn’t bother to read it, so I don’t have a link. I’m sure you can track it down if you need to. I don’t want to talk about the article so much as the discussion it prompted about the oft-quoted phrase, “Do what you love.” I’m not fond of this phrase because I have a few problems with what it implies.
The first is that it assumes that doing what you love is somehow necessary to be happy or fulfilled. I can appreciate this reason, but it manages to miss the real-life experience of most people. For example, I’m a software engineer by day, so I make a decent wage that comes with excellent health coverage. I say this not to brag, but so that you have context. This job pays for practically everything in my life and provides for me and my family. I’m blessed in that regard. I don’t take a lot of fulfillment from my job; it’s a job and I’m good at it. I’m not unhappy about that. Note that this doesn’t mean that there aren’t terrible jobs out there. It also doesn’t mean that you’ll be happy if you’ve got the job you love.
The second is that some people can’t do the job they love. I suppose this applies to me, too. I’m very happy for anyone that can do the “Full Adamus.” It’s a beautiful thing to see when it’s possible. For a lot of people, it simply isn’t possible. They have responsibilities and other important things that prevent them from doing what they love. I’ll let you in on a secret: the reason I love editing and game design and writing is that I can do it without it affecting my family’s livelihood. That’s a powerful motivation to me.
With me so far? Good. I’m about to say something radical.
Your heart is deceptive.