9 to 5 Culture

The Ideal Job

Which of the following options would you choose?

  1. Have a job that is not ideal, but pays the bills while you focus on your true passions/hobbies during the time you aren’t working (like on weekends and nights)
  2. Have a job that IS your passion (if you love theater, for example, being an actor) no matter how difficult it is to break into that field

There are valid arguments for both (though I believe you can have your cake an eat it too, which I’ll explain at the end.)

Pros For the “Non-Ideal” Job

It is often much easier to find something which will just pay the bills and allow you to support yourself and your family. Many people find a certain sort of peace when they stop trying so hard to search for their ideal scenario and learn to accept their situation. This can train you to appreciate the beauty in every day without always trying to change it. Anyone can be a server/administrative assistant/customer service agent etc.

Also, your options will be far greater because you are willing to accept a wider range of work. Many people who choose this path are totally fine with the predictable 9-to-5 lifestyle after some initial adaptation.

You might enjoy your hobbies and true loves that much more because you will be less focused on trying to make them “professional.”

Cons For the “Non-Ideal” Job

There is always the concern that you will find be miserable at work because it’s so far from your ideal. You may burn out, be more stressed, and at worst feel like an alien in your own skin. This sounds more like post-traumatic stress disorder than a job to me.

One could also argue that this is the easy way out. Anyone can settle. It’s like saying “Why have the whole pie if you get a slice?” Madness. You are perfectly happy with your share and don’t want to budge. At it’s worst, this choice encourages complacency and lacks any real challenge.

You’ll never truly reach your goals professionally unless one of your side hobbies miraculously turns into one. Still, you have to make this happen.

One final con is that you might be so tired and unhappy from your job that you lack the energy for doing what you love anyway. Who wants to go biking after working 10 hours at a factory?

I would argue that this job-induced burnout from settling for “any job” happens to just about everyone eventually.

Pros For The Ideal Job

You’ll be truly living your passion, at least professionally. You’ll look forward to going to work, and it will not feel like work to you at all as you spend most of your waking time doing what you love. What could be better than this?

Also, you are likely to earn more than someone who is “just doing a job” because if you love your work, you’ll work harder. This leads to increased earnings, happiness, autonomy and freedom!

Cons For The Ideal Job

You may eventually get tired of your passion, which would be terrible because you will no longer love what you used to love. When you tie your passion in with your income there is always the danger of becoming a unhappy with what you are doing. This is because the pressure of the necessity of earning a living can replace passion with anxiety. Instead of doing what you love for fun, you do it to live and at worst, survive.

You may also blur the lines between work and play so much that you are always “at work” so to speak. This lifestyle might actually lead to a decline in enjoyment of activities just for pleasure.

The Best Option

Given the various pros and cons, it really comes down to what you are looking for in life. Some people will be happier in the first scenario, and others will opt for the second.

But why give in to one of these “piece of the pie” choices when you can have an even better scenario?

I present option three:

Separate your income from your work. Find a way to make an income, automate it as much as possible, remove yourself from the equation, and then you’ll be able to pursue your passions and interests without needing to make money from them. This solution is the toughest road to create, but like everything in life that is difficult, it provides the greatest rewards.

No longer will you have to work for a living, or turn your passions into work. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having to worry about your living expenses or having to go to work. You can pursue your passions and interests with all the time in the world! Doesn’t that sound wonderful? It is possible. Don’t EVER settle. When you see two options, opt for the third. Once you learn to think like this, you’ll actually be closer to making this kind of life a reality.


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