A wise man once said:
If you do what you love for a living, you will never work a day in your life.
Today, many people disagree with this line of thinking, because they believe once something becomes work – it’s just work, no matter what it is.
But then should the opposite advice prove better? If I find something I hate and do it for a living, will that make me love it more over time?
I highly doubt that.
A Cog in the Wheel
When I worked at Xerox Business Services I had a standard 40-hour week. To be more specific, I put in 38.5 hours of work, when my lunch break was excluded.
And you know what?
From the first to the last day I worked there, every moment felt like torture. Just one week after landing my job with the company, I started to job hunt again and continued to do so for the remaining two years I spent with them.
When I finally found the opportunity to leave, I told the HR Director that the only difference between working at Xerox and working on a plantation in the 1700s was central air conditioning.
It was a private conversation in which she had encouraged me to be as bluntly honest as possible, and I had handed it to her.
Believe it or not, she only smiled. “You’re not the first person to tell me that,” she admitted.
Other Cogs in the Machine
But I already knew I wasn’t the only one dissatisfied with my job. The best worker on our team often confessed that every day he spent working as an analyst, it was the more he felt his brain cells disappearing.
He loved accounting, and as close as taxes came to that, it just wasn’t enough for him. He wasn’t doing what he loved.
Fast-forward to more than a year later and both of us have put the company behind us. He now enjoys working somewhere else and is getting a degree in accounting; and I enjoy working for myself and with clients.
Building my Own Machine
In fact, I’ve had weeks of putting in 70 hours of work – voluntarily.
What do I do with all that time? I help start-ups work on their payroll and budgeting to submit to investors. I handle social media pages, create a few ad campaigns, consult with authors, and provide content for a few websites. And most importantly, I manage my blogs.
Throughout all this, I still find time to work out, take short hiking trips, eat out, play video games, visit with family and friends, and even get my hair done.
How did I do it? Who knows?
I’ve always had the uncanny ability to put extra hours in a day.
It’s been my super-power since I hit puberty.
But when people see how many hours I work and hear the tallied number, they are often concerned. Of course, I’m often tired. That I openly admit. But how could I not be stressed? Unhappy, even? At least, not where work is concerned.
Doing What I Love
The answer is simple: I do what I love for a living, so I never work a day in my life. In fact, I would put in another 10 hours – happily – if I could have found anymore work to do. But alas, I often do not.
Maybe this coming week will be another 70 hours or a 60. But whatever the count, I know I will enjoy every second I spend tweeting, photo-shopping, marketing, writing, designing, budgeting, and anything else my clients send my way.
What will you be working on this week? If it’s not something you love, then perhaps it’s time to consider a new career path. It’s never too late to go back to school, and never too late to live the life you’ve always dreamed.
As long as what you love coincides with something you’re also good at – take a chance, make the effort, create a change. You’ll be happy you did.
Originally published February 8, 2016 on Alexis Chateau.