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(Slate)   If you have ever followed career advice along the lines of "do what you love," then congratulations; you are a devalued, oftentimes mocked drone who is part of the problem. Or so says this columnist   (slate.com) divider line 104
    More: Unlikely, Carlyle Group, Martina Navratilova, Henry David Thoreau, ideas, elites, problems, racial prejudices, Confucius  
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3878 clicks; posted to Main » on 17 Jan 2014 at 9:09 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



104 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-01-17 09:11:03 AM  
What are you passionate about?
 
2014-01-17 09:11:38 AM  
If you are good at self-delusion, anyone can love what they do every day.
 
2014-01-17 09:11:46 AM  
I tried to do what I love, but engineering linkages let me down and I'm forced to hustle used books on Amazon.
 
2014-01-17 09:12:38 AM  
I could never parlay taking other people's money in to a real job. I tried but I just didn't get enough votes.
 
2014-01-17 09:12:38 AM  

wildcardjack: I tried to do what I love, but engineering linkages let me down and I'm forced to hustle used books on Amazon.


Watching porn all day doesn't pay very well, either.
 
2014-01-17 09:17:35 AM  
I can tell that author loves her work.
 
2014-01-17 09:17:51 AM  
I love making money. It makes finding a career infinitely easier.

Jokes aside, I don't think DWYL is a bad mantra, but people make it too specific. "I want to be a fashion designer making dresses featured on the red carpet." Yeah..a tad too lofty. Instead dial it back to "I love to create things". You might have better success. Mine is "I love to help people" so I chose a service career and happen to be good with computers. I am content...and I make a good living so really nothing to complain about.
 
2014-01-17 09:18:29 AM  
Get a career which can be challenging enough to be internally rewarding, make enough money for your lifestyle,  and enable you to stay employed for decades.
If you have a job with enough money, then you can do what you love as a hobby.

/I chose software development before outsourcing came to the US and found it rewarding and then was able to do what I loved
 
2014-01-17 09:22:50 AM  

Rixel: I can tell that author loves her work.


Yet she does not anyone else to be a retarded monkey with a keyboard too

Selfish, I say
 
2014-01-17 09:23:43 AM  
I like my job, it's OK.

My sister loves her job though, she's an elementary school music teacher.  She's said repeatedly that she can't really understand why they pay her, she has such a good time doing her job.

I wish I loved my job, but I can get by merely liking it.
 
2014-01-17 09:23:44 AM  
Goddammit, why do I even click on Slate links? The smug tone always annoys me.

The saying is trite but the advice is good - you'll have a much happier life if you don't spend eight hours a day forty days a week doing something you dislike. Twisting it into some sort of anti-blue collar elitism is just weird.

/also, Dear Prudence is the fakest advice column in history. The Onion's is more believable.
 
2014-01-17 09:23:52 AM  
Here's are the problems with do what you love:

1) If it is a job a lot of people love it is hard to make money. If people will do the job out of love the employer does not need to pay as much as for a less lovable job.

2) Turning a hobby in to a job is often the most efficient way to ruin a hobby.


It can work, but it is not universally good advice as many would have you believe.

/ Besides, nobody was willing to will pay me to smoke pot and surf porn.
 
2014-01-17 09:24:56 AM  
I'm doing right now (working in the meteorology field) what I've wanted to do since I was about 4 years old. I can't imagine enjoying any other job more I enjoy this.
 
2014-01-17 09:25:16 AM  
I deal with that all the time. People look down on me and give me shiat constantly for being an artist even though I make   ridiculous amounts of cash doing it. But apparently art is "contributing to society" or something.

What's funny is it's always office drones who hate their jobs and don't make anywhere near the kind of money that I do who say this.
 
2014-01-17 09:26:03 AM  
I love my work, and I love where I work. However, I also love kids, and can't very well do them without serious legal repercussions. Instead I found a way to work helping kids, and Chris Hansen no longer bothers me.
 
2014-01-17 09:26:03 AM  
Overthinking much?

I don't know, I never regreted leaving law school (and according to my mother, a much more profitable career) and instead go to an art and design school... now I'm a web designer, I do pretty well money-wise and I have plenty of time to do OTHER things that I love.

I don't know if the "Do what you love" mantra devaluates laborers work, certainly it helped ME in particular.

/Cool story...
//Maybe not much...
 
2014-01-17 09:27:20 AM  

Esroc: I deal with that all the time. People look down on me and give me shiat constantly for being an artist even though I make   ridiculous amounts of cash doing it. But apparently art is "contributing to society" or something.

What's funny is it's always office drones who hate their jobs and don't make anywhere near the kind of money that I do who say this.


isn't, I mean't isn't.

/need to learn how to type.
 
2014-01-17 09:27:40 AM  
Can I get a job drinking beer? Cause that's what I love
 
2014-01-17 09:27:54 AM  
The problem is that I love to do nothing. I take the Ron Livingston from Office Space track. I hear people say "I can't retire, I don't know what I'd do all day!" I'd do nothing, maybe read or watch tv or play a game. Those are not things that you can build a life around. My wife loves to garden, she could open a nursery. I want to watch trash on tv and surf the internet, there's no easy way to monetize that. Instead of DWYL, I follow my dad's advice which was "Don't hate what you do." I haven't been doing it for very long, but I don't hate it.
 
2014-01-17 09:29:03 AM  
FTFA:  "While DWYL seems harmless and precious, it is self-focused to the point of narcissism."

Narcissism?  Probably the most abused word in the english language at the moment.  And this article is the most cromulent piece of ding-a-ling braindroppings I have read today.

If you have passion about something you will do more to succeed at it.  You will work through hard times and plateaus and go beyond what the casual dabbler will do, and it will not FEEL like you are wasting your time and your life.  It's not a platitude floated by patriarchical capitalists to trick women like the author into pretending their low-paying job is their love.  It's a general direction for career choice.  The rest is up to the individual.

The author clearly does not understand the concept or the expression and has a chip on her shoulder.  Maybe she's just not that good at what she does, or maybe she doesn't really love it.  Whose fault is that?
 
2014-01-17 09:30:16 AM  

K3rmy: Rixel: I can tell that author loves her work.

Yet she does not anyone else to be a retarded monkey with a keyboard too


i184.photobucket.com

What the author might look like.
 
2014-01-17 09:31:40 AM  
I wish I could do what I love and get paid. Unfortunately, not many people will pay me to go fishing and drink beer
 
2014-01-17 09:32:03 AM  
I have been passionate about coding since 11th grade, it is one of the highest paid jobs with probably (if not the) best jobs outlook in the future. I should have been a plumber instead?
 
2014-01-17 09:32:10 AM  
But men make so much less than women in the porn industry.
 
2014-01-17 09:32:56 AM  
#slatepitches
 
2014-01-17 09:34:13 AM  
I think a better bit of advice is "do something that you don't hate".  My dad got painted into a career corner, and hated every day of his career.  Full on, Al Bundy "Oh God, am I not fit to die" level hating his job.  He kept at it for 30 years because he didn't have a lot of choices, and he had a family.  It nearly destroyed him.  About a year after he retired, he became a totally different guy, much happier and even likable.

I am not doing it. I have a job, I kind of like it.  I could make more money, but I dont' want to go through what he did.
 
2014-01-17 09:34:20 AM  
Doing what you love is a hobby.

Doing what makes other people money that you can enjoy is a career.

If you try to make your career what you love doing, your career will destroy that love, because no job exists for it's own sake for it's own reasons and your enjoyment.  If you are an artist, the chances of you doing art that fulfills your artistic dreams is slim.  More than likely, you'll get stuck creating things that you don't like, in ways that are unpleasant, under constraints that force you to not produce your best.  Which means that in order to find your passion and your love, you'll have to do exactly what you do at work, at home in your spare time.  I don't care how much you love doing something, you can't do it that many hours of the day.  You just get disgusted with what your doing eventually.

That does not mean your hobby can't be a revenue stream, or a side job, or extra money when you retire, etc.  But making it your career means you can wind up *forced* to continue doing it by life circumstances, and being forced into doing anything, even what you love, will pretty much take it out of you.

 Don't put doing what you love doing at the mercy of people whose only desire is to profit from your efforts, unless what you love is making money doing that thing.  Your goals are not aligned, and it will rarely end in a life-affirming fashion.
 
2014-01-17 09:34:29 AM  

Esroc: I deal with that all the time. People look down on me and give me shiat constantly for being an artist even though I make   ridiculous amounts of cash doing it. But apparently art is "contributing to society" or something.

What's funny is it's always office drones who hate their jobs and don't make anywhere near the kind of money that I do who say this.


And here we have a near-perfect example of what the article is talking about.
 
2014-01-17 09:36:35 AM  
I think the author completely misses the point of DWYL, as do most elitist idiots who make it their life philosophy.

The point of DWYL isn't that you will make a profit doing what you love, but rather that if you are doing what you love it doesn't matter if you make any money at it at all. You wake up every morning looking forward to the day ahead because you will spend your time doing what is most fulfilling for you. The fact that you may be dirt-poor while doing it is a secondary concern.

This of course is an affront to the mad, profit-obsessed culture we live in today ... "you'd have to be INSANE not to want to get rich, right?"
But, that's precisely the point.
 
2014-01-17 09:37:05 AM  
Most of the jobs that keep this world running, and allow a privileged few to "do what they love," suck. This has always been and will always be the case.
 
2014-01-17 09:37:42 AM  

abhorrent1: K3rmy: Rixel: I can tell that author loves her work.

Yet she does not anyone else to be a retarded monkey with a keyboard too

[i184.photobucket.com image 497x287]

What the author might look like.


Her bio:  Miya Tokumitsu holds a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania.

Well there you go.  I would think museum curator or art teacher/professor is about the pinnacle of your career path there.  And for those you probably have to wait for someone to die before a position opens up.  Maybe there's an option to get into the business side of art collecting but that would require more than around looking at paintings, scultures and pictures of buildings.  Instead, better to sit in front of a computer with a glass of wine and blog about how the capitalist patriarchy is farking you over.

Is this a gag article and a fake byline?  Ph.D. in Philosophy would have been too obvious.
 
2014-01-17 09:39:11 AM  

mayIFark: I should have been a plumber instead?


Plumbers can't be outsourced to India.

"It is hot here, like a cow on fire."

To further explain, the guy with the best boat in the neighborhood was our plumber.
 
2014-01-17 09:40:15 AM  

Kozmopoliskepticalopsis: I think the author completely misses the point of DWYL, as do most elitist idiots who make it their life philosophy.

The point of DWYL isn't that you will make a profit doing what you love, but rather that if you are doing what you love it doesn't matter if you make any money at it at all. You wake up every morning looking forward to the day ahead because you will spend your time doing what is most fulfilling for you. The fact that you may be dirt-poor while doing it is a secondary concern.

This of course is an affront to the mad, profit-obsessed culture we live in today ... "you'd have to be INSANE not to want to get rich, right?"
But, that's precisely the point.


Exactly this.  You have to be prepared to make sacrifices and do whatever's necessary if you want to go beyond a certain level, or to subsist.

I can't believe the artist hadn't heard "starving artist" before she heard "DWYL".
 
2014-01-17 09:42:34 AM  
An article railing against elitism and people who make use of educational privilege while lamenting the devaluation of labor and vanishing factory jobs... written by an Art History PhD.
 
2014-01-17 09:43:00 AM  
The author needs to follow her own advice.
 
2014-01-17 09:43:50 AM  
I actually pretty much do what I love, because I figured that after my life had been destroyed by bad parenting, bad people, bad choices, addictions, lack of money, and more bad people, what the hell did I have to lose? My whole life has been a trainwreck, but now, I like my jobs.

www.quickmeme.com


DarkPascual: I don't know if the "Do what you love" mantra devaluates laborers work, certainly it helped ME in particular.


I do a lot of manual labor. That's what I like.
 
2014-01-17 09:45:02 AM  
But what if I love devaluing and oftentimes mocking all the office drones who I graciously allow to work for me, even though I consider them part of the problem? There's plenty of lucrative opportunities in that field.
 
2014-01-17 09:52:00 AM  

bubo_sibiricus: mayIFark: I should have been a plumber instead?

Plumbers can't be outsourced to India.

"It is hot here, like a cow on fire."

To further explain, the guy with the best boat in the neighborhood was our plumber.


"Turning the screw is free. Knowing which one to turn costs $500."
 
2014-01-17 09:55:19 AM  
Doing something you enjoy is pretty much the only healthy way to stand it. This idea is ancient, predating every economic system in use today and almost every society: we have sayings attributed at least as far back as Confucius.

However, I'm coming to think that one uniquely modern interpretation of this maxim -unifying a avocation and vocation, making hobbies and work one and the same- may in fact have been a mistake. I now believe that, when it's practical to do so (which isn't the case for all fields), we should work at what we love second-best, and keep that which we enjoy most as a hobby.

Why? Consider computer programming. This is a field that has its share of folks in it for the money, but is also infamous for all the people who come to it because they adore it over all else, doing it both at home and at work. It is also infamous for its extremely high burnout rate. My thought is that this happens because people come to it with essentially no other active interests: they don't really do anything else, except perhaps media consumption, which doesn't count for this purpose. They throw themselves into the code headlong, but eventually come to realize that they've no way to escape it when boredom and burnout set in. And so people crash, and they crash hard.

If I am right about this, then it follows that it would be best to have a unrelated hobby one enjoys even more: an avocation to go along with one's vocation. In one sense, avocation drives vocation: you do something you enjoy, to allow you to do something you enjoy even more. But by keeping them separate and unrelated, they also recharge you: they break the monotony even though they are both still enjoyable, thus preventing burnout from either one.

Of course, this isn't always practical. Some interests can't really be practiced outside normal work hours: for example, schoolteaching. Then there are the people like me, who came to their job as an all-consuming interest, and can't really leave it now. A "secondary hobby" likely wouldn't be as effective at driving work, because work is still the stronger interest. But they should still be able to recharge from one another, and so it should still be an effective tool for averting burnout, and perhaps even in recovering from burnout. I intend to experiment with this last myself.

On the flip side, there are jobs that few if any people truly enjoy, yet still need done. I would expect the effect of a hobby to be even stronger at both driving this kind of work and recharging from it, and so it would remain useful. The effect of work in terms of recharging from the hobby would likely not be so strong, but if work is not an interest per se while the hobby is, how much of a problem would that really be?

Anyway, I'm rambling. tl;dr - Make sure there are at least two things you love, and if at all possible, do what you love second-best. I'm half-wondering if maybe I should start a blog about my own experiments in this.
 
2014-01-17 09:57:05 AM  
Relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc (Dan Pink's Drive)

"Do what you love" is a reminder that selling 40+ hours of your life to someone else at a discount can have an eroding effect on your long-term happiness and well-being.  It may have been recently appropriated by smug hipsters making artisinal pencils, but it's rooted in a very humanistic view of justice in the working world--you have the right to be happy in your labor, even though you may have to struggle to find the right circumstances.

The author does make some good points, but the "privilege" part was a complete misread. Yes, people who actually get to make a living doing what they love are lucky - but that's not how it should be. The current American narrative on labor is this: "You will take this crappy, demeaning, low-paying job and you will thank us for the privilege of toiling daily to make our shareholders slightly richer."  It's a profoundly warped view of the role labor should have in a modern, post-industrial society, and the sooner we can tear down that false narrative the better for everyone.
 
2014-01-17 09:58:43 AM  
Stopped reading here:

If we believe that working as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur or a museum publicist or a think-tank acolyte is essential to being true to ourselves, what do we believe about the inner lives and hopes of those who clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores? The answer is: nothing.

---

First of all, bullshiat.  Some may desire to be a creative type like Steve Jobs, other may not.  Some may be happier than hell being an elementary school janitor.  Doing what one loves is a personal decision and does not in any way convey a value judgment on what others do.......unless you're a pompous ass like this writer and consciously look down on the decisions of others.  One can believe that what they are doing is "true" to themselves while acknowledging the freedom of others to do likewise.

The legal field, for example, is high stress with well documented streaks of alcoholism, drug use, etc.  I can see the appeal of "lowly" jobs where one can go home at the end of the day and leave it all behind.  One could derive a whole lot of pleasure from such things.

"Like what you do for 40+ hours a week" is not an unreasonable goal.
 
2014-01-17 09:59:33 AM  

wildcardjack: bubo_sibiricus: mayIFark: I should have been a plumber instead?

Plumbers can't be outsourced to India.

"It is hot here, like a cow on fire."

To further explain, the guy with the best boat in the neighborhood was our plumber.

"Turning the screw is free. Knowing which one to turn costs $500."


I had a plumber over to help me with a busted fixture the other day. The screw in the handle was stripped, and I was working on it with a crowbar when I decided I should stop and consult a pro. $150 later he breaks the stem in half to remove the fixture.
Basically, I paid to learn it's okay to do that. That's how it go.
 
2014-01-17 09:59:48 AM  
To be fair, most people figure out what they "love" as they're filling out their college admission form. Suddenly they "love" something because it gives them Mondays and Fridays off, or provides confirmation bias for their political beliefs.
 
2014-01-17 10:03:26 AM  

Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: wildcardjack: bubo_sibiricus: mayIFark: I should have been a plumber instead?

Plumbers can't be outsourced to India.

"It is hot here, like a cow on fire."

To further explain, the guy with the best boat in the neighborhood was our plumber.

"Turning the screw is free. Knowing which one to turn costs $500."

I had a plumber over to help me with a busted fixture the other day. The screw in the handle was stripped, and I was working on it with a crowbar when I decided I should stop and consult a pro. $150 later he breaks the stem in half to remove the fixture.
Basically, I paid to learn it's okay to do that. That's how it go.


$150 for peace of mind versus a potentially big mess of water is a small price to pay.
 
2014-01-17 10:03:33 AM  

bubo_sibiricus: mayIFark: I should have been a plumber instead?

Plumbers can't be outsourced to India.

"It is hot here, like a cow on fire."

To further explain, the guy with the best boat in the neighborhood was our plumber.


Yeah, but be prepared to deal with four years of the worst kind of grueling manual labor and a lot of redneck machismo before you get that license.

/or be the only college boy in the field and land an office job inside a year; either way, it involves digging ditches around rednecks before you get anywhere in the field
 
2014-01-17 10:04:17 AM  

machoprogrammer: I wish I could do what I love and get paid. Unfortunately, not many people will pay me to go fishing and drink beer


Truer words have never been spoken. Along with those two great things, I happen to also love poetry (can the jokes I've heard them all). So when I got the opportunity to get a Master's in writing I took it.

"That's a meaningless degree," they said.

"How can you make a living as a poet?" they said.

I spent two years writing, reading, and publishing poems. Now I work at a university teaching writing. I don't teach poetry--possibly one day--but I do spent 6-8 hours a day talking about writing and how to do it and interpret it. I can leave work everyday with a clip in in my step knowing I helped a few people who love the written word, bored a few as well, and possibly made the middle margin think.

This is not technically a response to your comment, but fishing and beer are both awesome, so cheers.
 
2014-01-17 10:04:33 AM  

Duke Phillips' Singing Bears: wildcardjack: bubo_sibiricus: mayIFark: I should have been a plumber instead?

Plumbers can't be outsourced to India.

"It is hot here, like a cow on fire."

To further explain, the guy with the best boat in the neighborhood was our plumber.

"Turning the screw is free. Knowing which one to turn costs $500."

I had a plumber over to help me with a busted fixture the other day. The screw in the handle was stripped, and I was working on it with a crowbar when I decided I should stop and consult a pro. $150 later he breaks the stem in half to remove the fixture.
Basically, I paid to learn it's okay to do that. That's how it go.


My question for you is: Did he conclude the fixture was farked? Sometimes it's easier to replace an old, low end kitchen faucet that to replace the cartridge.
 
2014-01-17 10:05:31 AM  
Man you guys are a bunch of cynical people.  My two best friends are "blue collar" worker types.  My first is a carpenter who builds houses all day and the other is a plumber.  Both of them love their jobs.  The carpenter loves it because he gets to work outside for the most part, is on his feet and gets to actually build things.  He loves the physical labor.  The plumber likes his job...well I dunno why but he does.  Both make a decent living and are generally pretty happy people.  They both tell me if they had to work in an office environment like I do all day, sitting in front of a desk (I'm in IT), they'd go insane.  Me?  I think I'd hate doing either of their jobs all day everyday (although I do like fixing up my own house).  Point is, all three of us have careers that we enjoy and don't mind going to work everyday.  Would we rather sit back and play video games and drink beer all day?  Of course!  But, since we have to work, we all chose fields we were interested in.  That's all it means....  What irritates me about this article and the author is the notion that if you're a laborer or a blue collar worker, you can't possible be doing what you love and you're forced into it because of necessity.  Talk about elitist...
 
2014-01-17 10:06:13 AM  

corn-bread: Like what you do for 40+ hours a week" is not an unreasonable goal.


How DARE you imply hotel cleaners are soulless automatons!

Seriously though, the author clearly suffers from the ol' post-college malaise. I've seen it before in people who do very arty subjects, enjoy the hell out of them, graduate and then realize they aren't talented enough to work in the field they love. She's apparently decided to deal with it by pissing on everyone who does do what they love. I think there's an aesop about it - the fox and the sour grapes it pisses all over.
 
2014-01-17 10:06:21 AM  
Isn't the saying "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life?"

I think people are reading too much into it. If you take it at face value, it's telling you that if you do what you love, you won't be able to find work.


I'm an adherent to the much more sage and clearly spoken advice of "Find a job that pays you well enough to do what you really want to do in your time off." That one has yet to lead me astray.
 
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