Doing What You (Don't) Love
Four years ago, I started down the path of moving from working in IT to doing something I loved. Web design was where my heart was, but I started writing a blog first because I felt there was a better opportunity to earn an income there. I had no design experience. And so I started The Weekly Review
That year was amazing. I wrote a lot, met new people online, and eventually, started Fusion Ads with Michael Mistretta. 18 months after publishing my first blog post, I was able to quit my job and work for myself full time.
Last November, after we sold Fusion, I was at a crossroads and unsure of what was next. There were a few options available, but I wanted to make sure that I was moving down the path to doing what I loved (front end web design). My time at Fusion was amazing, and I enjoyed a lot of my tasks and responsibilities, but it wasn't what I loved. Now that there was some money in the bank, I wanted to start on the 'next thing'.
One of my available options came out of nowhere. Some of my former employers heard I had sold my company and may be available for work. A day later, I had three offers come across my desk. This was completely unexpected and they certainly weren't options I would have pursued. Go back to working around the corporate environment? Get involved in the politics of government funded healthcare? Work on Windows powered equipment? No thanks.
A funny thing happened though. It turns out the opportunities were contracts, not positions. Working for myself rather than working for the man. Since November, I had been praying and asking my Father to help me be open to whatever He might have in store for me. And so I couldn't ignore any opportunity, including one that wasn't my first choice.
The benefits of doing what you love are widely touted. It's the golden carrot of our web-enabled age. But when you consider what to do for a living, you also have to weigh the cost of doing what you love, every day.
To clarify, doing what you love doesn't mean you love every single aspect of a profession. Every job has drudgery. When I say doing what you love, I mean you wake up in the morning looking forward to going to do whatever it is you do to provide for yourself [and your family]. And you feel that way 9 days out of 10.
Back to the cost then. It's simply this: when you do what you love, it can often lead to being all that you do. It's what you think about when you wake up, when you're in the shower, in the moments of peace and quiet, and as you close your eyes at the end of the day.
As far as work is concerned, that's not a bad thing. But you have to realize that other areas of your life will pay the cost. There may be hobbies like woodworking, gardening or cycling that interest you, but you never get around to picking up. There are the missed family events. Or, even worse, you're present in body only, your mind on the 'thing you love'.
Being a spouse, a parent, a congregrant — these things all take time and energy. Doing what you love for a job so easily takes over your thought life, everything else can get lip service only.
So I'm spending the next year working part time on what I enjoy, but not love (project management), and working part time building the next dumb idea (which involves doing what I love). This scenario comes with two benefits: a) it pays the bills and b) it's a bit of an experiment to see if I can stop paying lip service to certain priorities and actually treat them like the priorities they are.&