If You Love What You Do, You’ll Work Every Day of Your Life
So, Find The Work You Want To Do
“Every cloud has a silver lining. What’s the silver lining of this?”
As I stood, stunned that my college graduation was canceled, these words rang in my ear. No one had said this to me in this shocking time, but it has been said enough times that no one needed to.
This time, I was saying it to myself.
I’d been taught to. We all had. In every hardship, it’s time to find the silver lining. That’s just how we’re supposed to handle hardships.
This platitude rang through my ears over the next several days and weeks as I unpacked what I was actually feeling, and rarely was I looking for silver linings.
But that was always what I came back to because platitudes are ingrained into the nature of our understanding of the world.
If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Another classic platitude. But this one, while meant to be encouraging, is more heart-wrenching and soul-crushing than it originally seems.
Because platitudes become the story we tell ourselves.
I really enjoy my job. I feel respected by my manager and co-workers, the work is engaging, and the pay is good enough. It’s a great situation with room to grow in a company that I care about.
But I find myself wondering…
Some days, I don’t like it. Some days really feel like hard work.
Does that mean I don’t actually love it?
Especially during my college years, this idea was taught to me a lot by those I respected. Faculty would say it offhandedly, the administration would use it as a way to encourage me to follow a specific major.
“Does it feel like work? Do you love it?”
But here’s the thing: Even if you love it, work still feels like work some days.
Good things take hard work.
Having to work hard is not a reason to say you don’t love your job. In fact, if it doesn’t feel like work, it might not be very rewarding in the end.
Job satisfaction is related to fulfillment, and part of fulfillment is the feeling that hard work paid off. It’s not that everything felt easy, it’s that it felt rewarding.
Our work shouldn’t pursue things that don’t feel like work because they are easy. No, we should pursue careers that feel fulfilling, because the work we do pays off.
The point isn’t to get away from the crap, the point is to find the crap you enjoy dealing with. — Mark Manson
Whatever you end up doing for a job or a career, there will be hard things about the job and there will be days that suck.
That’s how it should be.
Instead of trying to find a job that doesn’t feel like work, try to find a job where you’re comfortable dealing with the hard work because you want to see the outcome after the hard work.
That’s what a career should be focused on.
How to apply this
1. Figure out what crap you enjoy dealing with.
Whether you’re in a stable job or looking, you need to know why you’re doing your job or potential job. Understanding that will make it easier to push through the hard days because there is a light to run towards.
2. Write it down and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day.
My favorite place is to set it as your phone’s lock screen or desktop background. If you’re not a designer, you can put this together in a simple tool like Canva. It doesn’t need to be a Van Gogh, just put the quote in a nice font over a picture you like.
Then every day, it’s a reminder of why you’re working.
Maybe it’s about the vision of the company. Maybe it’s about creating an income for your family. Maybe it’s Maybelline.
Whatever your reason for pushing through the hard work, you can be inspired by it through the hard days.
Work can feel like work, and that’s how it should be.
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