Thursday, August 18, 2011

On Loving One's Work

"There's a reason it's called work" ~ me

It's interesting how the view of work and life has evolved over the past hundred years. 

I don't think my dad's generation worried about loving their work.   My dad liked to be working.  He worked until he was 72, and he didn't need to financially.  I don't think he loved his work, but I don't think there was something else he wanted to do.  I think my dad loved earning money.

During my generation's working life, the concept of career and loving one's work emerged.  We were supposed make our career a major part of our life and devote significant personal resources to it.  I tried to buy into this.  I convinced myself I was doing something that made difference, which was true in a macro sense. I dedicated myself to my job.  My projects became more successful.  I was promoted and paid more. I was promoted again and paid a lot more.  I was committed 24/7 to my job.   However, I didn't love my job.  I liked many parts of it, I was very good at it, but I didn't love it.  But I realized that I didn't have to love my job :-)

The current generation strongly believes they need a career they love and have passion for doing their work.   They want a job they love going to every day.  To me, they are searching for the unattainable holy grail.  Recently, I was asked by an intern whether I loved the job from which I retired.  My answer was, "No, there's a reason its called work.   There were parts of the job that I liked, but there were also parts I didn't like.   But I didn't dislike my job. "   I think he was disappointed in my answer, but appreciated my candidness. 

As I've written before, doing what I love wouldn't pay much.   So the idea of working a career that I love for 27 years seems foreign to me.  I'm still a big fan of getting a good college education that enables getting a higher paying job and then taking the hire paying job.  Work a job for love in retirement, when the amount of income earned is not as important.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday  for a new segment.

This is not financial, career or retirement advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2011 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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