Like Your Job. Love Your Life.
Let's be honest. Most of us do NOT love our jobs. I mean how can you truly love something that drags you away from your comfy bed every morning, into clothes you don't even like that much but fit the accepted attire, makes you endure traffic and inexplicably long Starbucks drive-thru lines, forces you to sit/stand in one place at a desk for hours, endure meeting after meeting that only 15% of the attendees need to attend, get paid a salary that has yet to be commensurate with your contribution, and forces you to give up most of your true personality and adopt an additional one in order to be taken seriously by a bunch of people who graduated from Ivy League schools with slightly above average grades. PS...you're making them rich. Wave to them from your not-paid-off-yet Hyundai. Still loveyour job?
Face it. Love is a mighty strong word when we're talking about working for someone else and, in turn, giving up a substantial portion of our individual lives, passions, and freedoms in order to do so. I can only think of one or two jobs in my past that I loved and even then it was only for short spurts of time, usually when doing something outside of the rules or something incredibly creative that finally allowed me to use my entire toolbox of skills and capabilities with absolutely no input from another human being. Then and only then could I truthfully claim to have loved my job.
We're in a time, unfortunately, filled with spin. And over the years I've watched expert after expert and guru after guru try to convince us to convince ourselves that we love something in order to make it suck exponentially less. One small problem with that. If we say we love something and love emanates from the heart, and the heart never lies, then aren't we actually lying to our hearts to achieve an (impossible) outcome based on a big, fat lie...to ourselves? Read it again. It's kinda brilliant.
I have always been grateful to have a job. But it's something I've always reconciled in my life, in my head, and in my heart as a means to an end. A necessity, in order to be considered a productive member of society, maintain a standard of living that I'm comfortable with, flex and sharpen my strategy and gamesmanship skills every day, and feel like I've accomplished both my goals and the goals set forth by my manager to his/her pleasure that week. I've never sought recognition. Only compensation as close to as commensurate with my contribution as I could get without arguing my way into a pink slip and subsequent arson charge.
I do believe it is possible to be passionate about what you do. In fact, I hope that's your impetus to walk through the door each day. But to force yourself to love working for someone else in a role that could be snatched from beneath your feet the very next day while you're loving away seems a bit foolhardy and low-key dishonest to me. Sure, love the projects you get to work on, or the visibility provided you by the work that you do. I'm not trying to take that away from you in any way. But really look at your career for what it is. A career...whose rules, in most cases, are dictated to you and within which you must loveworking. That's not love. True love, at least.
I'm on a mission this year to rewrite some of the false narratives we've been fed, ad naseam, especially over the past several years. This cheese-laden "Love Your Work" and "Love What You Do, Do What You Love" BS has gotten way out-of-hand. How about we like what we do well enough to enjoy going to work, putting forth our best efforts, interacting with cool peeps for several hours, and then setting new boundaries that allow us to leave work at a decent hour, pause all after-hours work communication, and meet up with the friends we've neglected for months, actually attend our kids' soccer practices and track meets, and have date nights that are solely focused on the person sitting across from us whom we honestly do love.
Gonna go ahead and call bullshit on the whole "I love my job" phenomenon. A scant few of you might. Good for you. (You hiring?) I'd say if you do a true audit of your life, your job, the relationships you have now and the ones you've lost because of your job, how present you are in your friends' and families' lives, your physical and mental health, your level of debt, the number of 2-week long (unbroken) vacations you've had in the last 10 years...you're more than likely to conclude that you don't really love your job. You might like it a whole lot, but you definitely don't love it. And that kind of honesty is a great start to getting us all back to correcting the false narratives we've been force fed by the media, the culture team, and 85% of the hacks on LinkedIn trying to make us believe something that simply isn't true.
LOVE YOUR LIFE. And start living it, unabashedly. Experience other cultures. Expose your children to international travel at a young age so that they'll know how to and want to explore different parts of the world at every opportunity as they grow. Show your friends that they matter. Surprise your favorite High School teacher with a sick bouquet of flowers hand delivered by YOU. Enjoy your job and give it your all every single moment you're in the building. But reconcile it for what it is. A job. It's not living. It's a vehicle to allow you to live a certain way and gain new skills, knowledge and perspectives and that's it. Appreciate the journey and each opportunity it provides you. But don't love something that doesn't love you equally in return. I assure you, it's an inequitable relationship. And one that can be gone in the blink of an eye. Just like your life.
LOVE YOUR LIFE and the people, places and things that make it worth living and loving. That's true love. Like your job. It's okay.
Case study: Candice Glover
American Idol Winner. Essentially, never heard from again. Loves to sing. Probably only liked being on a show being judged weekly on her God-given artistry within the confines of songs chosen for her to sing...for ratings. Made to believe she would be the next big thing. And didn't quite get there. "Oh well," for American Idol. Massive disappointment for Candice. Now she's content sharing her artistry and true passion with people who enjoy and are amazed by the purity of what emanates from within. That's what she loves.
Here's her showstopping rendition of "Love Song" by The Cure. Enjoy!