It seems like the talk of the day is that you have to LOVE your career. But I don’t think that’s true.
But I ALSO have good friends who are living fantastic lives with careers that simply aren’t their passions. They’re skilled, they work hard, and they do a good job, but it’s just not what turns their crank. If you ask about their jobs, they shrug off the conversation and move on to other topics. Instead, they’ll tell you about their outside projects – the concert series they run, the community sports they play, or the book club they’re part of. Some will talk about their volunteer work with service clubs. Still others talk about their family lives.
These people see their job as a paycheque. They work for the money in order to support their passions.
Maybe we’d do well to understand that there are benefits and drawbacks to either path.
The disadvantages, of course, are that working only for the paycheque can be boring, and a fast track to burnout if you have to constantly do stuff that you don’t believe in. Plus, half your waking life is used up doing something you don’t much care about.
What about the disadvantages? Working for the mission may lower your earning potential. Many not-for-profit jobs can’t compete with the salaries of the for-profit companies. Lower income can put a strain on family life, and it can be discouraging not to have extra money to donate to causes you care about. But even if you ARE making a good salary, you may still find it difficult to separate your job from the other parts of your life, which can be tiring. When you’re truly passionate about the impact of your work, it takes a lot of discipline to turn off the passion and take a rest.
- We get to take ownership of all the benefits of the path we choose! If we love the money, we can make it and spend it with pride in a way that’s right for us! If we love the mission, then we can feel proud of the impact we make each day with how we spend our time and energy.
- We get to make peace with all the things we give up by pursuing our chosen path. Once we accept our reality, we can re-align our expectations and give up our needless wanting. A great deal of pain comes from the wanting of that which is unattainable.
I believe most people genuinely care about how they spend their time. I even think most people want to make a positive difference in the world – whether that is raising a family or changing a policy or solving a problem or serving on a community group or enjoying shared time with their friends.
Your career takes up a lot of your time. So today, try asking yourself this: “How does my career make my life better? Am I working for the money or for the mission?” Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!