Do What You Love, Or Love What You Do?
Working professionals (especially the millennials) have all struggled with one primary conflict in their professional lives — “Do what you love, or love what you do?” There has been a lot of discussion about the same in various domains.
Some believe that you must learn to love what you are doing, regardless of what your job is. It is the love of the work that brings out longevity and excellence. However, the millennials lot will tell you otherwise. They believe that we must do what we love, and once the love runs out, the job should be left too. This is the “quit your job and travel” generation. They are constantly searching for work that will be deeply satisfying and enjoyable, and to reach that level of satisfaction, even if they have to quit their existing job, they will do so without any qualms.
In the dichotomy, the one lot considers work as worship. You don’t necessarily have to enjoy worshipping, but you must do it religiously. The other lot considers work as a holiday. The underlying belief is that one can reach excellence in a job only if they genuinely enjoy the work. When work doesn’t feel like work.
In these cases, both kinds of thoughts seem legitimate enough. Then, who is right and who is wrong? We will get to that later.
Love: An imperative for work
The first thing that we need to see is the fact that regardless of the sphere of work, or the mindset of the people involved in giving the advice, almost every successful person will tell you the same thing — While you are working there absolutely has to be love. Whether you contrive it or it originates organically is another question.
If you are working at a job you hate, but have to do it for the money or the comfort, you must quit right now. You can never deliver desirable results at a job you loathe. There has to be love for the work, otherwise the work cannot be done to its full potential. Every successful person will agree with this. If you are stuck at a job you despise from the bottom of your soul; quit already, for it will do nobody any good. You probably aren’t even making the money you should be.
All in all, both these different thoughts have the same foundation — that love is an imperative for work.
What if you are stuck in a job you don’t hate, but also don’t love?
So, now that the problem is solved(at least theoretically) for the half of you, let’s focus on the other half of the people. Professionals who do not entirely hate their jobs but are not too glad about it.
You are the reason I’m writing this post. I am sure you are awfully confused at the moment. Do you go out of your way and find what you love and do it, or do you stay at your current job and find love in it? Both seem logical enough. Both have been advocated by an array of successful professionals. Which is the right way then? Like everything else in the world(except for the laws of physics), the answer to this question is also relative.
The right way depends on your current context, and it is, perhaps the simplest solution one can give you:
If you have found what you love doing, but are doing something else(which is not so terrible, as established earlier,), you should probably give up your current job and chase your love. It will take a lot of efforts and courage to do so but you have to. Given the right opportunities, you can perform much better than you do currently. Sometimes, you do not get the right opportunities. In that case, you have to go out of your way and make those opportunities. You don’t always get everything on a platter. But before you contemplate leaving your current job for your love, take the practical and logical aspects into consideration.
Changing careers is by no means an easy task. Sometimes you have to start from scratch. Make a lot of financial compromises, change your lifestyle, etc. But in the end, once you find a job worthwhile, it will all be worth it. You can certainly make back the money you had lost, since, this time, you would be excellent at what you are doing.
Although bear in mind that you do not leave your current job on bad terms. Leave it when you feel you have learned whatever you could from the job, and you have reached a saturation point. Making major life decisions require a lot of thinking through and you must do it before embarking on a new journey. But the fact remains the same — you must follow your love. There are no two ways about it.
When do you HAVE TO learn to love your job?
If you are one of those people who aren’t too fond of their jobs but doesn’t know what else to do, it is high time you learned to love your job. You have to be fond of it; whether you contrive it or change your perspective to bring out the love from an organic space. If there is no genuine love for the job, the work feels like work, which reduces your productivity and motivation. To be the best at what you do, work should never feel like work. It is only then you can achieve great heights.
Confucius would agree with this:
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Therefore, love for your work has to be there. Whether you go after it or cultivate it in your current space. Either of the two will depend on your situations.