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Why the Money Won’t Follow if You Do What You Love

Updated on August 27, 2019
Lorra Garrick profile image

All-around writer who specializes in fitness, exercise and topics that most writers won't touch.

Whoever believes that if you “do what you love and the money will follow” is off his rocker. The money will NOT follow if you do what you love. It’s time to bury this false claim six feet under. Here’s why…

Money Follows Few People Who Do what They Love

In the 1980s there was a popular single-frame comic strip called Ziggy. In 1989 a book came out, “Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow,” by Marsha Sinetar. And thus began the myth that doing what you love will pay your bills.

One day, the blurb coming from Ziggy’s mouth was, “Gee, according to this, I can get rich eating ice cream and watching TV.” He was holding a book with Sinetar’s title.

I never read Sinetar’s book, but I’m sure it gives lots of helpful information for people who feel stuck in a rut with their job. But the catchy title is very misleading.

Poor People Do Things They Love

If money literally followed people for doing things they enjoy, then everyone would have plenty of money, because everyone does things they love. Even a person with the brains of a brick knows that when spare time presents itself, you do things you love, not hate. Duh.

Sinetar’s title must be meant for people who don’t know which activities to do in their spare time – those they love or those they hate. It’s like, “Okay, I have the morning free. Do I relax on my deck and paint a seascape or do I clean up the piles of dog poop along the street?”

If Sinetar’s Title Were True…

You’d have money at your feet just for eating your favorite foods, listening to music, making music, writing blogs and playing sports.

But wait…there really ARE people who’ve not only earned a livable income doing these things, but have gotten filthy rich.

  • In 2005 Sonya Thomas earned $50,000 eating – winning many eating contests.
  • The judges on “American Idol” get paid a huge sum for listening to music.
  • Some people have made a fortune blogging.
  • The money that pro-athletes and recording artists make is obscene.
  • Some Instagram stars earn thousands of dollars with every post.

But for every one of those just mentioned, there are thousands to millions doing the same and not earning a dime. It’s not that the money-makers are harder workers.

Sometimes it’s luck. For instance, it’s no coincidence that people who’ve raked in money ONLY from Instagram are usually (not always) very physically attractive.

But who makes money hiking or reading novels? Please don’t say someone who leads sightseeing tours in the mountains or book editors.

There’s a big difference between hiking on your own and leading a tour, and reading whatever you want, when you want, and editing books for a publisher.

Years ago I was playing pickup volleyball about 20 hours a week. Didn’t earn a penny. I used to do a lot of climbing at rock-wall gyms. Never got paid. And don’t tell me that coaching volleyball or becoming a climbing instructor are the same thing.

I love watching the ID Channel. Now don’t you dare tell me that becoming a crime scene investigator is the same thing as sitting on my comfy sofa and watching “Fear Thy Neighbor.”

What about people who love their jobs?

Have you ever wondered why, when you ask people if they like their job, most will say “Yes” or “Yeah, I love it”?

It’s difficult to believe that so many people like, let alone love, their job, being that:

  • More heart attacks occur on Monday than any other day.
  • “Happy hour” is after work, not before.
  • There’s a TGIF but not a TGIM.
  • There’s workplace hostility but not retirement hostility.
  • There’s workplace bullying but not retirement bullying.

It’s very possible that people answer they like or love their job to avoid pity and/or the many questions that would follow if they replied, “No, it sucks.” They may also want others to think they’re more successful than they actually are.

The day after my father had a knee replacement surgery, he sincerely commented to his surgeon, “I bet you really love your job.”

The surgeon replied, “Actually, I hate it. But I’m good at it.”

My nephew, in his mid-20s, does what he loves and the money is following: He plays professional golf. My niece claims she loves her job as a bank teller.

I believe my nephew, but I think my niece is just trying to be upbeat and optimistic in her young troubled life, and part of that is fooling herself into thinking she “loves” her job so that she can stay sane.

But I’ll bet the farm that if she were stranded on an island with a Holodeck, the last virtual reality program she’d ever simulate is a day on the job at the bank! Instead, she’d be setting simulations for trips all across the U.S., play dates with her cats, karaoke nights, wine tasting parties, rock concerts, hanging out with friends, etc. Not ONE program would involve working at the bank!

But what about trying to make money by doing something you love?

Ever hear of a “starving artist”? Many do what they love and are living in their car.

Suppose you love to take pictures. You can be really good at this, but you won’t see a single penny unless you figure out how to out-market the zillion other photographers out there.

If you love to get your hands full of flour and enjoy mixing up breads, decorating cakes, etc., Sinetar’s title means it should be a piece of cake to figure out how to get restaurants to buy your pastries and acquire a facility (oh, that’s easy!!) that’s big enough to handle the workload, deal with licenses, labor costs, employee hassles, hiring, managing, overhead, reams of paperwork …

You’re no longer doing what you love -- which is baking for family, friends and neighbors! You’re now sitting at a desk all day crunching numbers, interviewing prospective employees for your baking company, arranging meetings with restaurant owners, meeting with them and putting up with any boors so you can get their business, sitting through endless meetings with staff, reviewing product lists for inventory … the fun is GONE.

“Do what you love and the money will follow” is the biggest load of manure.



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