Dec 26, 2007

The Party's Over

How do you know when the kids are growing up? When they can write articles like the Brazen Careerist can:

Bad advice: Do what you love.

I don't remember how I got to her site, but it was a refreshing bit of sobriety in a capitalistic society that allows the "winners take all" brutality to be juxtaposed against all the whiny, feel-good- about- yourself, find-meaning-in-your-work admonitions.

I laughed. I cried! And now I'm blogging it. Because, as you head into the New Year, with thoughts of making it meaningful or transcendent or just livable, sometimes you just gotta fact the facts:

Often, the thing we should do for our career is something we would only do if we were getting a reward. If you tell yourself that your job has to be something you’d do even if you didn’t get paid, you’ll be looking for a long time. Maybe forever. So why set that standard? The reward for doing a job is contributing to something larger than you are, participating in society, and being valued in the form of money.

Being valued in the form of money? I know, it's a shock to the system of people under 40. If younger people would only understand how awesome they'll feel at 40, how much energy they'll have, how much happier they'll be, well, they'd take a major chill pill from all of their life-drama and just get busy with making a bit of cash at Cogsworth Cogs, invest it wisely, and still have a lot of life ahead of them after 25 years of simple work. In fact, they'll have more than most.

Dream-jobs are mostly for dreamers. I'm sure that the guy who does my pedicure isn't doing what he loves, even if my feet are the softest and prettiest he's ever had the honor of massaging (which he does expertly, a bit of reflexology thrown in for amazing effect...mmmm!) ... where was I? Oh. Right. I mean, he's probably facing a better retirement because he's just working his ass off right now, living with a huge extended family, finding no transcendent meaning in toenail clippings, and saving every penny.

And I'll likely be working for him at Nguyen-Mart when I'm stooped with age.

Shopping cart, ma'am?


Gecko said...

Pepper looks like JR - waaay cute as are the bride and groom. It's about time with those pictures! Happy Boxing day, Joan. I love your writing.

michael475369-comments said...

Great post. I linked this at IB.

Francis W. Porretto said...

There's a considerable tension between "do what you love" and "love what you do." Sometimes both are possible; other times, both are impossible. Yet both exhortations, as ideals to be striven for, are worthy.

My own recipe is a bit more ramified:
First, do what you must.
Then, do what you should.
Then, do what you like.

There's room in there for doing what you love...sometimes. But simply doing what you love without regard for context or circumstances is always irrational and often irresponsible.

Teresa said...

That's an excellent post - I'll have to read her now. LOL.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Thanks, Michael and everyone. I really like the entire article she wrote, and should have said, "read the whole thing". I only had 10 minutes to post my thoughts!

Suzette said...

Whoa. Who is Francis W. Porretto? That is a person who deserves his own advice blog.

libby said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
julie said...

I have an ex-friend. Part of the reason she's an ex is because she swallowed that "do what you love" crap hook, line and sinker. As a result she sat around basically holding out for a management position, whining about how everybody was so mean to her and they should just accept her as she was - fat, lazy and completely irresponsible. I don't have a problem with fat, necessarily, having been down that aisle, but in her case it was a very obvious outward manifestation of some major inner mind parasites. And that's lazy as in "can't be bothered to pay bills or clean up after herself," not lazy as in glorious slackitude. Essentially, she wanted to be me, but without actually having to do any of the work I did to become who I am.

The worst part is, she's not stupid and she's quite talented. If she had been willing to do what she must, she would have acquired the ability to do what she loved and get paid for it.

Hm. I guess that touched a nerve. Sorry about the rant! (but not so sorry I won't post it :)