Is It Important That You Love Work Or Should You Stop Wishing?
If you’re reading this and dreading tomorrow — having to go back to an office job you don’t love — then you probably intuitively believe that it it is important that you love work.
After all, feeling stressed and unhappy about a place where you spend most of your waking hours isn’t good for anyone.
But there are people out there that believe that you should just be satisfied with the job you have, be happy with your paycheck, or do work that you’re good at, whether or not you like it.
Those are three, potentially legitimate reasons why you should stay where you are and not strive for anything else in life.
It might make for an “easier” life in some ways. Less wondering what else is out there. Less wracking your brain to figure out what that thing could be. And less angst about how you’re ever going to get there. . .
The tradeoff, of course, is that you stay stuck right where you are. But you’ll have to figure out how to live with the reality of not loving work forever.
So, let’s examine those three reasons why you should stay where you are and not strive for anything else in life, on the theory that maybe it’s not important that you love work. We’ll see how they hold up.
Is It Important You Love Work? Reason #1
If it’s not important you love work, then you should be satisfied with the job you have and no longer have to wonder what else is out there.
That is kind of a relief.
Until you realize that although you’re off the hook for figuring out what your passion is, you are never going to get a chance to do anything different from what you’re doing right now.
If you hate it today, you’re probably going to hate it tomorrow.
If sheer boredom doesn’t bother you, you’ll be fine. But if it does, you might be in a little trouble here.
Even if you do decide to jump ship and do something different just to break it up a little, there’s no guarantee that you’ll like what you’ll be doing next any more than what you’re doing now.
If the goal is to break up the boredom, you’re back at square one — figuring out what you like. . .
Analysis: Get used to being bored, or stressed, or whatever it is that is uncomfortable. Loving work, or at least being interested and engaged with it, is the only other alternative.
Is It Important You Love Work? Reason #2
You might believe, even if it’s just on one level, that you should just be happy with the paycheck you’re earning, independent of the work you do.
This is closely related to reason #1 that we talked about before, but the key difference here is that you have not only a sense of boredom or stress that’s driving you out of your job, but also a nice paycheck that’s tethering you to it.
So while you might struggle with finding something else you truly love, what you leave behind isn’t all bad. There are perks. And it might not be just you that benefits from them. You might have a family and a lifestyle that has grown very accustomed to living the way you do on the paycheck you earn.
So does that mean you should shut down every part of you that wants to love work and just become totally focused on the money?
Because if you’re not someone who is naturally driven by money — for example if you’re motivated instead by passion or by doing something meaningful in the world — then it isn’t going to work for you to shut down those innate desires and trying to focus fully on something that, while good, isn’t deeply meaningful.
You need to be motivated by what you’re motivated by, and not artificially motivate yourself with something else. Not if you want to truly feel happy, that is.
How to move on from your paycheck is another matter. But realize, you may not have to move on from your paycheck at all in order to get an amazing job that you love.
Don’t resign yourself to believing that there’s no way to earn the money you want while having work you love.
Analysis: If you can be motivated by money and be happy with that, then you’ll be fine. If you need more to motivate you, you’ll need to figure out how to leave your current job behind.
Is It Important You Love Work? Reason #3
If it isn’t important to have work you love, then you might as well do what you’re good at, not what you care about.
You’ll serve people by tapping into skills that you have and delivering something that is quality.
Again, if you can consistently deliver something good whether or not you like the process of doing it, then you have to only consider what it is like going to work and not actually liking work.
But the truth is that most people have real trouble getting consistently good results with something they don’t care much about. And if you want to get great results, not caring is not a great strategy.
If you love work, you’ll be more motivated to succeed, more excited to tackle challenges, more interested in your own learning and growth, more motivational to others, and more able to convince others to follow your leadership.
Ideally, having work you love and are good at is the sweet spot. But if you can’t have both right away, getting good at what you love is the key to doing great work.
Though some argue that love for work comes from gaining great skill, I think you need your interests and passion to guide you in a direction for your learning before you can even begin to acquire those skills.
Analysis: Do what you’re good at only if you can be ok with not liking work. If you need to like your work or if you need to achieve great results, then find something you love to do, and get great at it.
What Would It Take For You To Love Work?
What are the major barriers standing in the way of you having work you love right now?
Is it the paycheck? Finding your passion? Something else?
Start small with passion. Learn what you can about yourself and what you like. Then explore that world before ever making a move.
If it’s the paycheck, there may be ways to do work you love and earn the money you are used to making. I have coached many clients who have done just that. You can do it too.
In the comments below, I’m curious to hear your thoughts and takeaways from this post.
Do you believe it is important to love work? What is standing in your way right now?
Jessica Sweet is a career coach and therapist who helps people in midlife who have multiple passions and interests to find and do work they love.