Do what you love, professionally or not

Do what you love, love what you do. Sounds like the perfect motto. Most people apply this to their career. But what if you’re doing what you love but don’t love what you do?

In college we’re asked to pick a major, something we want to study and eventually pursue a career in. At one time I’m sure college students were advised to look at careers first and then pick a major, but now we’re advised to find what we love, what we’re interested in, and pursue that. Sounds more logical than past advice. If you study what you love you’re sure to love the job that comes with it.

Not true.

Let’s take for example my major in college: Restaurant and Hospitality Management. I knew I wanted to go into event planning because I loved doing that. So I pursued a major that fit what I love and found a job where I get to do that for a living. But what if I hated my job and planning events as a career? (Please note, I don’t actually hate it and, in fact, really like my job. This is just an example) Am I doomed to spend the rest of my career life doing something I hate just because I’m doing something I love?

Before you freak out and quit your job, writing off what you love, ask yourself: do I hate what I once loved or do I just hate my job? Chances are, it’s probably your job.

Going back to what I do: I work at a university helping to plan catered events. So let’s say I hate doing this (I don’t, just an example!). Maybe it’s just the environment I hate. Or maybe I don’t enjoy planning these types of events. It doesn’t mean I hate planning; I just want to plan something new.

Once you’ve determined what it is you dislike, look for ways to change that. Is there an opportunity you can take, such as taking a class or taking on new work responsibilities, to help you change what you’re currently doing? Are there other available positions where you work that sound more like what you love? Discuss with your boss the parts of your job that you dislike and for ways to help improve your productivity on them – this one is tricky and will depend on your relationship with your boss; you don’t want to sound like a brat telling him or her all the things you hate about your job.

If you can’t find any way to change your current job situation, maybe it’s time to look for a new one. Make a list of the things you like doing. Going back to me (because when are we not?) my list would look something like this:

  • Calculating Cost of Sale
  • Building relationships
  • Planning events

Once I have my list I can then look for positions that use those job skills. Perhaps in my current positions I’m not able to do those things or perhaps I am but am unhappy doing them in a college environment. Looking for a job that will allow me to not only do what I love but in an environment that I love can lead to increased job satisfaction.

But say you’ve done all that and just don’t enjoy doing what you love on a professional level? Who says you have to? If you’re a writer but hate the publishing world, write stories for your kids. If you’re a baker but can’t stand taking cake orders, bake for your friends (p.s. your friends love cake). If you’re a surgeon but hate cutting into people, they make this game called Operation that I’ve heard is just fabulous.

If you don’t enjoy doing what you love professionally, do it just for fun. There’s nothing wrong with that and, in most cases, you’ll probably get more satisfaction out of it.

Professionally, find a job that you enjoy and that you can be proud of. Whether it has anything to do with your major is up to you.

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