“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” — Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was a brilliant and determined individual. He loved what he did and therefore excelled in his work, seemingly because it was his passion. But, is this profound statement even possible for everyone?
Should You Do What You Love? The Reality of Today
The United States is considered to be the land of opportunity, but within its borders there are 49.1 million Americans that are considered to be food insecure, meaning that they don’t have the funds necessary to buy adequate food for their families. When parents are struggling to provide food for their families, “doing what they love” probably isn’t even a consideration.
Beyond this, think about our college students today. They excitedly go off to college and pursue a field that they might want as a career for the rest of their lives. Ideally, they study what they love and can make a comfortable living from their studies, but upon graduation many of them admit that they are afraid that they might not find a job in their field of study (45% of them in fact).
Those same college grads have other concerns as well, such as:
- not being able to pay their bills
- not being able to pay off their student loan debt
- not being able to pay off their credit card debt
Looking back just a couple generations ago, none of these concerns were even thought of! Many individuals didn’t even need to go to college to get their first job and therefore didn’t have any student loans. Credit cards weren’t mainstream until the 1980’s and 1990’s, so the probability of student credit card debt was minuscule as well!
With all of these added concerns from young adults entering the workforce, the thought of ‘Should you do what you love?’ is often hampered by the thoughts of “Oh crap, I have a ton of student debt and need to find a job or I’m screwed.” What are the odds that these students end up with a job that they love? Very little. And what about those in poverty that are just trying to figure out how they’re going to put the next meal on the table? Do you think they’re landing jobs that they love? Chances are, no.
…And Then Life Continues to Happen
Students and poor individuals alike grab onto the “temporary job” that will help them pay the bills for today, but they both have aspirations of moving on to new and better things later in life when their situation gets a little better. If you asked them if they hated their jobs, they probably would admit that they didn’t despise what they did for a living, but was it their life’s passion? No, probably not. If you asked them what they loved to do, most of them could quickly come up with an answer, but then just as quickly provide a reason why it just wasn’t possible as a career choice at the moment.
Life has a way of “happening” to us, and as the years pass by dreams also seem to fade, or at best they get postponed until a later date.
- Kids enter the picture
- You buy your first house
- Medical bills creep up on you
- Cars break down and need replacement
Life keeps happening again and again, and while you keep thinking about getting out of that dead-end job of yours, the bills keep rolling in. The last thing you want to do is put your family at risk with a career change, so you stay where you are, earn the paycheck that you know is secure, and try to contribute some money into your 401k along the way. At least this way you’ll be able to fulfill your dreams in retirement!
But, do you really want to wait? If you had the choice to do what you love right now and there was no financial risk, wouldn’t you take it?
Should You Do What You Love? Absolutely!
Over the past five years, we crafty Americans have discovered how we can start living the life we always dreamed of. Instead of buying that 2,600 square foot mansion and going out to fancy dinners with our friends (mainly to distract ourselves from our mundane job that we’d like to escape), we could conceivably live on much less money if we just lived more simply.
*Enter the tiny house movement*
Ever since it came on the scene, the tiny house movement has been absolutely fascinating to me. By condensing one’s life from over 2,000 square feet to approximately 150 square feet and selling everything that wasn’t entirely necessary, people have freed up much of their time and money to do what they truly love! Some have become artists, others pursue writing, and others might decide to just remove themselves from the grid entirely.
If you had a dream that could be fulfilled by living a minimalist lifestyle, would you do it?
I have been in the workforce for about 7 years. I started with $18,000 in debt and found a job that earned me $33,000 a year. From day one, I have lived frugally and have managed to pay off these loans as well as an $80,000 house. As I continue to live frugally, I am able to live on just 25% of my take-home pay, which is padding my savings quite nicely.
Naturally, with this current financial security, I am starting to ask myself questions like:
- Is this really what I want to do with the rest of my life?
- Was I meant for something more?
- Would I be happier in a different occupation?
Becoming financially secure will allow you the opportunity to ask yourself these questions, and in summary, this one:
- Should you do what you love?
So what am I driving at here? Mainly this. If you want to do what you love, then why not put yourself in a financial position to go ahead and do it?! Reduce your expenses, sell a whole bunch of crap, do whatever it takes to increase your income, pay off all your debt, and just flat out live on less! If you can live on less than 50% of your income, then you’d feel a little more comfortable about pursuing your dreams wouldn’t you?
Should you do what you love? Absolutely! Now go map out a plan and do it!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.