Should You Do What You Love?

When I was in college, I read a book called “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow.”  In fact, I think I still have it, which isn’t idea since I borrowed it from my boss…

You’ve probably heard something very similar.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Confucius

“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”  Khalil Gibran

“Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it.”  Henry David Thoreau

Just this week, I have come across two very different articles discussing this very issue.  It is interesting, because I agree with both of them despite the fact that they seem to disagree.

Johnny Moneyseed wrote Quit Your Job and Do Something You Love.  He is looking at the long-term view:  what can you do now in order to make it possible to do something you love in the future?  I like this perspective, because it talks about preparation and security at the same time as following your passions.  (I also like Johnny Moneyseed because he is actually doing all the great stuff he writes about.  He’s making major lifestyle changes to support his long-term goals.  He’s totally rockin’ it!)

However, Alexa Mason at MoneyNing makes good points in Why You Should NOT Turn Your Passion Into a Job.  I know that I often feel weighed by this dream job.  As much as I love financial education, and helping people, it is hard work to come up with a new and different thing to say every day.

Alexa’s advice at the end, start a business in a field in which you are good, is solid.  The founders of Barefoot Wine, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, told me something very similar.  They weren’t passionate about wine.  They didn’t know anything about wine.  Instead, they saw an opportunity and they followed it passionately.  I’d say that worked out pretty well for them, since they sold the Barefoot brand to the Gallo family for a substantial amount of money.

I can’t imagine doing something that I didn’t at least love a little.  I have several passions:  financial education, real estate, restaurants.  In fact, I have deliberately steered myself away from the restaurant business because it doesn’t fit with my desired life, no matter how much I love it.  And real estate hasn’t been a viable alternative yet, with a house full of small children, my husband doing the DC commute, and then back-to-back overseas tours.  (Maybe someday, though.)  And financial education?  I do it for free, what wouldn’t be great about getting paid for it?  Though, as I said before, there are days when I struggle, even with something that is so important to me.

What do you think about these two perspectives?  Where do you fall on the spectrum?  Are you doing something you love, something you like, or something you hate?  Would you take a job you loved if it meant that you’d be broke all the time?

Hope you are having a great day!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • guest

    We are totally about embracing the suck for now, so that we can do whatever we want to in 8-10 years. I hate my job, but it pays good money, and will pay a near obscene sum if we ever get bought out and my options are exercised. He likes his military job, but doesn’t want to do it forever. Our plan is to retire by 45 to the Keys, then do whatever we want to for the rest of our life.

    We live on under his salary and save pretty much my entire pre tax salary every year. We will hit the million dollar (investable) mark within 2 years barring a severe market correction, and we are millenials. Between his retirement income and the income generated from our investments (and we will sell our current house and rentals to pay cash for whatever we buy there) we should be able to live out life in moderate comfort, no huge European tour trips or large boats but a paid for house, the ability to pay the bills and feed/entertain us.

    The idea of doing whatever we want to in the future is what makes the daily drag bearable. I know if we continue to save at our current rate for 5 years, we will never have to save another dime…ever, we can just let compounding do the work. I grew up being broke I will NEVER be broke again, even for a job I like. I’d rather build up a safety net that pays me to do what I want to do.

    My husband and I like to joke that we aren’t big dreamers, we are big doer’s