Is It Okay To Not Love What You Do?

Stressful business woman working on laptop. Isolated on white

I had a conversation with my teenager some time ago. We were talking about passion and how it’s important to love what you do for a living.

My teen begged to differ, as teens do.

“Not everyone has the luxury of passion, Mum. Some people have to take whatever they can get, so they can survive.”

I couldn’t disagree with that one, but it got me thinking. In the personal development space, coaches are always extolling the virtues of finding your passion, fulfilling your passion, and how you will never work another day of your life if you do what you love and love what you do.

Is this kind of thinking only for the affluent and the self-indulgent?

This week I found a HuffPost article featuring Dr. Miya Tokumitsu of University of Melbourne. Dr. Tokumitsu is the author of Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness – and her answer seems to be Yes, for these reasons:

  • Not everyone has the privilege of doing what they love for work. Often, financial obligations are a higher priority than passion.
  • Doing what we love is an inward-focused perspective. When it’s all about fulfilling ourselves and making ourselves happy, we may forget how our situation is affecting other workers’ wellbeing. Is my success riding on the backs of others without me knowing?
  • The work we do doesn’t need to be the definition of what we love. A job can’t give you everything. We can pursue our passions outside office hours, in other areas of our life. In other words, keep the boundaries between work and your private life distinct.

Looks like my teen knows a thing or two that I don’t.

What do you think? Should work be fun, fulfilling and meaningful, or just something we do?