Does "Do What You Love" Equal Happiness?

One the most common mantras that is used today when talking about careers, jobs and happiness is "do what you love". Many consider their dream job based upon what they are passionate about. But many times, the dream job or what one is passionate about does not always pan out to be a career where a living can be made. Many retirees "do what they love" after doing what "they did not love" doing for 20+ years. They can afford to venture out and do something that has little financial reward because of their $3-5000 a month income from retirement.

For those with the entrepreneurial naivete who have not put their 20 years in somewhere, the "do what you love" can be an illusion in passion. What good does it do to "do what you love" if you cannot pay your monthly bills? Not much. While you might be personally satisfied,as time moves on, the tune soon becomes what the Rolling Stones first #1 song was in America in 1965, "I Can't Get No Satisfaction", or The Beatles, " Help" or "I'm Down".

Truth is, the doing what you love may or may not be enough. Even those who have retired, and have a second career "doing what they love" can turn into a pain in the ass from things you failed to consider. For instance, you love baking muffins, cookies, breads. Simply love it. You decide to open a bakery. Just getting to the point of "opening day" is often a real headache from things you knew nothing about related to opening a "bakery". All you want to do is bake! Now, you spend more time managing employees, inventory, dealing with customers and finding a nightmare of sorts. You actually start to hate baking.

How about a tennis coach? You love tennis. Play it all the time. Why not make money at ? This gig would have very low overhead. At $40-50 an hour, the pay is good. The easy part was going to a few hotels and offer your services and the hotel would get 10%. You might find out that teaching tennis is far different having a game of tennis. That, dealing with kids, or people not really serious about the game a nuisance after time moves on. You may find your patience wearing thin as the student makes the same damn error over and over and over and over, despite you correcting and showing the right way. You might express the anxiety with a kid whose parents are forcing him to learn it. You might find out the income is too sporadic over time. You might find yourself more of a babysitter for younger children who are starting the game early and you might get ticked off when the lesson never happens because the student never shows up. At some point, you wonder why you ever thought it was "dream job" because it is way more than "playing" tennis on a daily basis. Its a job!

This is not to say some do succeed in doing what they love and make decent money at it, these people are just more willing to endure the bad about what makes them love what they do. Not everyone can.

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Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

I just read a hub on what you can do with a history degree. These two hubs should be linked.

It may be trite to say if you can't do what you love, love what you do, but it may also be the secret to happiness.

An education has a great deal more value than just the job you end up doing. I haven't always specifically worked in my degree field, but having a formal education has either gotten me the job I wanted or gave me the confidence to venture into a new area I could learn to love.

The single thing that has determined whether or not I loved a job was my relationship with my boss. And usually that factor came down to just dumb luck.

Good topic.


UnnamedHarald profile image

UnnamedHarald 4 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I agree, although I would change your last sentence to "Most can't". Who's going to sweep the school's floors or stock the shelves at Walmart or make cold sales calls? Even many people making really good money secretly (or not) hate their job. There are people who genuinely love their job and are not just putting on a positive face. They are to be envied. "Do what you love" sells a lot of inspirational books. I suggest trying to find a career you like or even love, but be prepared to enjoy the fruits of your labor instead of the job. Sorry to be throwing all this cold water about-- just don't tell me you love calling people trying to sell them insurance.


perrya profile image

perrya 4 years ago Author

well, of course, there are so many variables to this topic. Maybe you love what you do and can survive on the meager earnings it brings in, maybe the income in what you do and love is the best of all worlds, maybe you do what you love hoping to to be discovered then become famous. But, many who start a biz doing what they love to do tend to forget how it does become a business in all aspects and can become a grind like any job you might end up not liking. Happiness means different things to different people.

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