A guest post by Simple Life in France
People often rail against giving up their dreams, working a 9-to-5 job they hate and having the life sucked out of them. But what if you work atypical hours doing something you’re passionate about with an outlet for your creativity? Are you safe from job-induced insanity?
I’m always amused when people solve the problem of work-induced stress by saying, “Just do what you love,” often followed by, “and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Not so, I say—and here are just a few reasons:
• Often work you love is precarious. Want to be an art teacher, college professor, journalist . . ? The scarcity of stable, full time employment in these fields can leave you scrambling from one temporary gig to another with spotty health care and benefits.
• The politics that arise in environments with low job security can be reminiscent of a snake-pit. I once had a long conversation with a friend who felt he’d sold out by becoming an attorney in some ways, but who enjoyed the cooperation between opposing attorneys during their cases. I had to admit to this friend that the teachers in the school where I worked refused to share teaching ideas or collaborate because they were in direct competition with each other for their jobs. Not quite what I’d envisioned when I took up my passion.
• When you believe in what you do, you tend to take it home with you—literally and figuratively. Journalists, writers, teachers, musicians, artists (etc.) tend to mull over projects constantly, not simply while they are at work. You may find yourself putting in extra (unpaid) hours because you enjoy what you do and want to do your best.
• Your passion can become corrupted by the employer-employee relationship. When you believe in what you do, you’re likely to have strong opinions about how it should be done. You may have an idea about how you want a specific graphic design project to turn out, but your employer doesn’t agree. You may have a strong opinion on student/teacher ratio that doesn’t jibe with the state budget. Your editor may request changes in your writing in the name of marketability.
When someone else pays you to do something you’re passionate about, you often find yourself trying to decide whether to compromise, to subvert or to leave.
Passionate about your career? Should you abandon all hope?
That sounds like a personal question to me. I must admit that for all the drawbacks I found in working in a field I love, I’ve never quite been able to imagine myself doing something else. Although on occasion, I gaze wistfully at friends who are bored with their work but can come home, put up their feet, drink a beer and forget all about it.
What do you think? Where do you find the balance between work and passion?
Enjoy these other posts at Simple in France: