I’ve always believed that when it comes to what you do for a living, it should be something you love doing. As the adage goes, “do what you love and love what you do.” For me, this has meant everything, especially since finishing university a few years ago. At school there was a set out structure. You may have been in a program that you love or that you ended up hating, but either way, everything you did was a singular means toward and end that was meant to open up a world of opportunities for you. Ideally, you completed a program in a field for which you hold great passion and love, and the hope is that you land jobs that continue to stoke that flame.
We all know that’s the dream. But it’s also well-known that the dream doesn’t always play out the way we hope it does. Especially in a field where it’s difficult to keep up consistent work without a bit of luck and a lot of good timing, it can be a bevy of dry spells that come your way before you catch a break. I have friends who now do things almost completely unrelated to the degree or diploma they received from post-secondary education, and have barely thought about pursuing what they once pursued. Some of them seem neutral about it; they neither love nor hate what they do, but they do it because it supports their lifestyle and it’s stable. Others, however, absolutely love what they do, even if it has nothing to do with their education. They fell in love with this new profession they’ve discovered for themselves and their prospering in all sense of the word.
And that’s how I operate. Now, I am still pursuing the career I set out to pursue before high-school (albeit with a bit of a different twist on it with the incorporation of music as my main ingredient) but I love what I do. Even the side jobs that I have to take in order to support the dream are jobs that I don’t see as work. Yes, I’m working, but it’s never a tedious affair. I really love what I do in all the jobs that I do, and that’s a sign that I’m doing the right thing. For one of my side jobs, I’ve put in a “rolling resignation”, in that I’ve agreed to stay on board until a replacement is found or until the end of our usual annual cycle. It’s mostly the commute that pushed me to this decision — it’s a few towns over in rush-hour traffic, directly into the sunlight, making for a tiring drive — but I’ve also been there for 9 years and want to base myself completely in Toronto. A little bit, though, is because it started to feel like work. It started to feel like a job. And when that starts to happen, it’s an immediate red flag for me that I should be looking to move on to the next thing, whatever it may be.
Your job doesn’t have to feel like work. It can be fun. It can be something you love. It can be something you look forward to everyday, even if the hours might be a little early or a little late for your liking sometimes. I believe that when you start to consistently dread going to your job, then it’s time for a change. I know it’s not easy. I know sometimes it’s just not possible. But you have to try because your own health and mental stability depend on it. You’re never really stuck, just stalled. And eventually, you’ll make your way out.
But that’ll only happen if you try. Do what you love and love what you do. Settle for nothing less. (And get me this shirt.)