Jobs are like your 3-year-old child — some days your job is literally the best thing in the world, and the very next day it seriously tests your patience. (What’s going on? You were doing so well!)
Yes, we’ve all heard that sentiment countless times. We repeat it to recent graduates like it’s the only career advice they’ll ever need. We print it on motivational posters, bumper stickers, and encouraging note cards. We incorporate it into commencement addresses. Heck, I’m sure it’s even embroidered on the occasional throw pillow.
Here’s the deal. There’s nothing wrong with loving what you do for a living. In fact, a genuine love for your work makes your career that much more enjoyable. It’s awesome doing a job that you love each and every day.
Work Is Not Play
I absolutely love what I do, and I’m lucky to be able to make a living at it. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not consciously aware of the fact that I would usually rather be enjoying cocktails with friends than trying to meet a deadline.
Yes, work and play are two vastly different things. Work requires exertion and effort in order to pay the bills and put food on the table, whereas play is all about fun and enjoyment. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to incorporate some of that joy and passion into your daily routine. But, that definitely doesn’t mean that your entire career will be a walk in the park.
Adding in that pressure and the expectation of payment is exactly what separates your job from everything else. Unlike fun, work isn’t always something that you want to do—it’s something that you need to do. And, chances are, when what you love turns into your job, you just might not love it as much anymore.
But, here’s the reality: For most of us, your job is nothing more than a means to an end. Your job enables your work. It puts into action the thing that you love doing. The conduit, if you will. It’s the path you take to earn a living.
But, jobs come and go. They’re also pretty bad sometimes.
Right now, you might love your job. You have an amazing manager who genuinely cares about you as a person. He or she gives you the autonomy to do your job in the best way that you know how. They don’t care about status reports or performance reviews.