The other day I was talking with my husband about my job. Like any job, mine can be a source of frustration. There are several cons that keep me wondering if I should stay. Like, I don’t see myself growing professionally in the position I’m currently in or even having the possibility of growing beyond the position I’m currently in. I don’t see myself making more money. I don’t feel like the job feeds my soul or nurtures my passions although it involves writing and science (2 facets of my life that I love).
So I told my husband exactly what I’ve been thinking. “I might start looking for another job next year, because this job doesn’t feed my soul.”
Do You Love What You Do?
This kind of thinking – that you should do what you love and do work that matters – is relatively new in the collective consciousness. It is born of the self-improvement movement that implores us to pursue our passion. It is born of Steve Jobs who said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” It is born of sites like Live Your Legend, which maintains, “doing work you love is a fundamental human right.”
This kind of thinking has seeped into my own mindset. So I tell my husband, “I might start looking for another job next year, because this job doesn’t feed my soul.”
And my husband turns to me and says, “Keep your job, and feed your soul outside of work time.”
He wasn’t being dismissive of my desire to do meaningful work or love what I do. He was reminding me that my current job, for all it’s not so great parts, is a pretty good gig. It allows me enormous flexibility and freedom. It’s not a full time job, and it doesn’t have regularly scheduled hours. So, in effect, it provides me lots of time, time every single day, to pursue my interests (or run errands or take a nap or do nothing at all).
No, the job itself may not feed my soul, but it provides the opportunity for me to feed my soul. My soul gets fed from 5 to 9 rather than from 9 to 5. And that’s okay.
Your Job Can Have Meaning Without Feeding Your Soul.
What Steve Jobs and Live Your Legend and a million other sources fail to recognize is that every job is meaningful, whether you love it or not. (By the way, I’m not knocking Live Your Legend. I’m actually a fan and subscribe to their newsletter.)
Doing what you’re passionate about doesn’t have to pay you a salary. Doing what you’re passionate about simply means you do it, because you want to or need to in order to stay sane, be happy, and move through life.
Unless you’re a weapons dealer or a warlord, your work has real meaning. No matter what you do. Cleaning toilets is meaningful if it helps feed your family. Bookkeeping is meaningful if you find it fulfilling. Processing and copyediting manuscripts (my “day” job) is meaningful. It’s meaningful, because it affords me the luxury of being home every day with hours to write or run or take a nap (all of which I am passionate about).
Maybe promoting the idea that we all ought to follow our passion in our professional lives is a little short sighted. Honestly, isn’t it enough simply to find time every day to do what you love? If you can do that in your work, then great. But, if you can’t, then that’s okay, too.
Keep doing what you love. Keep feeding your soul, even if it’s from 5 to 9 and not 9 to 5..