Boring Job vs. Boring Person

I think we all want to do work that we love, that has an impact on the universe - just like we all want to lose 10 pounds and run a marathon. It's a commonly held abstract goal, the kind that everyone wants to achieve, but few people actually do.  

Why is that? Why do we say we want a life built around work that we love, and then end up working a boring job, commuting an hour each way, and spending the remaining 3 hours of our waking life watching TV?


I think it's because we've equated "doing work that I love" with "having a job that I love".


I promise, they really are two separate statements, two different realities.


It's totally fine to work a job where the work is not an expression of who you are in the world. Really, honestly. You gotta eat, and the work you love might not pay (yet). Work your job, yes. And also - do the work you love.


Here's the secret: just because you work a job you don't love, it doesn't mean you also have to:


  • buy a house you won't be able to pay off for 30 years
  • spend 37% of your income on housing
  • buy a new car
  • order cable
  • go on a cruise
  • spend the afternoon at Pottery Barn


Again, working a job you don't love is totally fine - there is still tons of time to do the work you love and build powerful relationships. Just don't, for the love of beans, decide that "having a job" also means "having a job, buying a house, going a lame vacations, spending tons of money on unnecessary crap".


Don't adopt a lifestyle that virtually guarantees you'll have to continue to work that job you don't love.


That makes no sense. It's like stating off at "Yeah, but it's too difficult to run every day and eat a strict vegan diet" and responding to that disappointment by eating at McDonald's every day and buying a segway to drive you everywhere.


No, the answer is to start small, and scale up. Eat more veggies and take a 30 minute walk every day.


Work you job, yes, and also live below your means. Eat black beans, sell your second car, shop at Goodwill. Live in an apartment on the unfashionable side of town. Lower your cost of living, stash away money, and then, slowly, scale down the hours you have to work at that crummy job.


It's not an all or nothing proposition. There is space between counter-culture-maniac-living-out-of-a-van-refuse-to-do-anything-I-perceive-as-selling-out and straight-laced-home-owning-debt-having-restaurant-going-haver-of-a-job-they-hate.


There is space there, in the middle. That's where sanity lives, where reasonable lives - that's where most of us what to be.


Having a boring job does not mean you have to be a boring person.