Do you *like* what you do?

My Dad loved his work.

I always thought that was normal. The world is big enough…and diverse enough…that I believe a man can work at practically anything he loves and make a decent living at it. The key is passion.

That said, I sort of stumbled into my career. I’ve liked it…I’ve loved it. But it’s changed, and lately it seems I’m just going through the motions.

I’m intensly passionate about my home life…I can’t even articulate my feelings for my wife of 19 years…they’ve never dimmed…and I enjoy the projects we elected to tackle together. The Old Vic is an amazing, challenging, and fun project…and our 100+ year old building on the square is a cool and facinating project as well. Big plans. Big dreams.

And we don’t just dream. We DO!

Other passions…no less strong, some perhaps stronger than others:

–Riding. Heh…you’d think the years and the miles…or maybe even the pain…would have dimmed the desire.

–Writing. Somehow crafting the world that I see…that I experience…into something others can understand and perhaps even feel.

–Family. Friends. A day with them at the movies…or lazing around the couch just chatting…or working on something. All good.

–Art. The doing. The viewing. The discovering.

–Flying. Skiing. Machines. Materials. Wood. Metal. Fire. Stone. Creation! The synergy between man and his machines…the tangible soul he imparts to his endeavors.

Will there ever be enough time?

Passion. It drives me. It moves me. It inspires me.

But not for my work…I’m not burned out…the work itself has changed. I’ve found I’ve only stayed for the money. Oh, I still do the job…I’m still dedicated…AND good at it.

But I’ve stayed for the money…and that…somehow…just seems wrong.

Well, ‘wrong’ seems the…heh…wrong word…perhaps ‘tragic’?

Should my home life be enough? Or should a man be *allowed* to be passionate about his work as well?

Don’t get me wrong…I’ve paid my dues. We ALL do things we don’t want to do at times…but should that be the norm?

Passion as principle. I’ve touched on this before…and often meant to write more extensivly about the merits…and the costs. Maybe I will someday.

But for now…what about you? What do you do for a living? Are you passionate about it?


edit: I posted this in several places, and am getting a lot of interesting and well thought out responses…so next week or so I’ll post an article summary of the responses/gist and my conclusions. Thanks for commenting!

Daniel Meyer

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9 Responses to Do you *like* what you do?

  1. Valker says:

    Daniel, I have been a teacher all my life. No, really. I love teaching stuff to people. I have taught public school for 33 years and MSF classes for 17 years.
    That said, the kids at school are changing to an extent that is causing my passion to cool. Not too sure how long it will be before I retire if it stays like this. I’ll give it one more year then decide.

  2. mrcrazydude says:

    and what if your passion takes you to places that don’t pay the mortgage, or the fuel bill, or the bits’n’pieces that keep the wife happy?

    I’ve worked in jobs I love, but I don’t know that I can see them taking me where I need to be to provide for the family.
    Right now I’m a hairs breadth from selling my bike, I haven’t even had the courage to mention it to the wife yet, because I know she’ll be against it – and she won’t even ride with me!!! And don’t even get me started on work at the moment!
    Some days life is lived, other times its suffered!

    Keep it up mate, if I’m anything to go by, you inspire many people with your words, who you will probably never hear from, or even know that they see your site
    Cheers from Down Under Daniel.

  3. othalan says:

    It is not tragic to be in a great career which has palled to only mildly interesting. Tragic is when your career forces you to sacrifice your hobbies and your dreams because of lack of money, lack of time, or high levels of stress.

    For me, the solution was to change from full-time employment to being a contractor. It restored the balance to the point where I’m not exactly delighted with my career, but I am ecstatic at its ability to support my hobbies and my dream of a 3-year trip traveling the world on my motorcycle (leave-date is currently May 2011).

    As a side note, I always confuse people when they ask me”what I do” as I respond: “I ride motorcycles and play guitar.”

    “Umm….how do you combine those???”

    “Oh, you mean how do I earn money, a very different question entirely! My career is embedded software engineering, but that isn’t what I ‘do’!”

  4. rideuponthewind says:

    Very provocative post, Dan. I’ve always marveled at your exploits and accomplishments. Its inspirational how you and your lifemate have common goals and actually work together and compliment each other to achieve your dreams. I was in the workforce for a good 30 years and like you kind of “fell into” a career field of sorts. For a HS dropout I was making good money and worked for a company that financially rewarded its employees. But, when I left that job I was totally burned out and so unhappy I don’t think I can articulate how I felt at the time. Looking forward to where our government seems to be taking this country, I’d hang onto any income that comes your way. I fear things will be much worse before they get better. However, in hindsight would I have done things differently as far as leaving my last job? Nope. It was one of the happiest moments of my life.

  5. Chuck says:

    For us typical working stiffs, the pound of flesh exchanged for sustenance is at times a comedy/tragedy play. Bouncing through a variety of jobs over the 35+ years since dropping out of 10th grade has led me to believe in one rare constant regarding the attitude of a position: it ain’t the job – it’s the PEOPLE.

    I’d rather hand dig ditches for a good, honest businessman alongside interesting and pleasant co-diggers than occupy a palatial corner office of a greedy, unethical corporate monster populated with stereotypical backstabbing, hypocritical drones. I’ve actually been fortunate enough to have experienced both extremes (education shouldn’t be mistaken for intelligence or vice versa).

    That same good fortune brought me to a comfy corner desk in a small company owned and operated by that good, honest businessman who is also my best friend. Our simple company philosophy, “make money – have fun” has been applied to all our business relationships and most of our customers and suppliers have become pals that are a pure joy to work with.

    It will never make me “financially independent” and the job itself when specifically defined is rather dull – just another desk jockey with umbillical connections locked to the “matrix” of phone/fax/computer -but the warm relations with nice PEOPLE make it the dream job I want to go to every day and do my best for all of them.

    Daniel, I hope you find a way to recharge your batteries and hang on until your ship of dreams arrives (and it will). I think sometimes if a guy can’t reach passion, it’s ok if it at least he can acquire…satisfaction.

  6. paulbeaver says:

    I am also an it worker, I took control of my life by becoming a contractor. Some monthe are hard but in general I like my work. I save the sanity because I do not have to worry about the whole corporate political thing. I get to choose my work, do it, then get out. As an outside contractor, I tend t be treated differently to staff. I get the most fun out of achieving the targets I set for myself.

    As a IT worker I enjoy solving the problems, as a contractor, I get to do the work usually without much management interference.

  7. royalstarjack says:

    Sure, I’ve got a passion for eating regularly, keeping a roof over my head and providing for my family. Things I haven’t always been able to do.

    So I go to my well paying job in a cubicle and move numbers from one spreadsheet to another…and thank my lucky stars.

  8. dwbrant says:

    I too am an IT worker, not burned-out but bummed-out.

    In a past life, I had a job I absolutely loved — jumping out of airplanes and establishing remote air fields in hostile areas. The work was inspiring and so varied that there was never the same thing twice.

    Then I had an accident, and all that changed. No more skydiving, no more strenuous physical activity. I became an IT worker and found some level of passion there, too; I worked on mainframes when mainframes were still “cool”.

    Now that much of IT is heading to smaller, “distributed” systems, I am finding it somewhat difficult to treat smaller computer systems as more than toys, and that’s defeating my passion. I really miss it.

    Fortunately, I have other outlets such as riding and photography; these activities, and my wife of 27 years, keep me sane, fat, and happy.

  9. dubsider says:

    Life’s 3 most deadly addictions: heroin, carbohydrates, monthly salary

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