OP/ED: Should We Do What We Love?

OP/ED: Should We Do What We Love?

“Follow your heart, do what you love.”

“Follow a dream and make it into reality.”

As graduation rears its ugly little head, college students have been told to follow their dreams and do what they love. We have been told for most of our lives, that if you do what you love for a living, you’re not really working.

But is this the message people should be sending these dear soon to be college graduates?

Not really. They may have a degree in something that they think that they want to do with their life, but they still don’t quite know what they want to do. That’s just the general direction these college graduates want to pursue.

“Do what you love” is a very important message, but is it wise to send off a freshly graduated college student to build a career on the simple fact that we should all be paid for what we are passionate for?

This phrase, “do what you love,” only captures part of the message. It shows that hard work pays off for something that we love, but it doesn’t tell us why that hard work should be done. What is the point of putting in effort, and what are we working hard towards? We’re just going to do what we love and get paid for it right?

Just because a college student has a degree in something they wish to do in their lives, doesn’t mean they will get a job in that field right away. These graduating students will go out and most likely stay in their “day jobs” until something better comes along.  For those college graduates who know exactly what they want to do, and have something set up for their future – congratulations. May you be happy in what you do, and live a long and happy life.

As for the rest of us? We will surely struggle, and try to find anyone that will hire us. Many will stay in that “day job” for a few years before they truly get on their feet and have a career in what they want to do.

Without a higher purpose or explanation where all this love and ambition can be directed, we don’t necessarily have a useful guide for this “meaningful success.” We have to discover what it is we truly love and just do it.

There are many people out there that simply, and genuinely love what they do for a living. But if we’re being honest here, how many of us love just one thing? It’s a nice idea to think that every person has this destiny for a particular career path. But most people have interests that can lead them into many different fields.

Take me for example. The degree  that I will graduate with is a radio and television degree, but I also write. Which makes me fit into the television/movie writing field, as well as the journalism field. With that being said, am I going to choose just one path? The one path I’m happy with? Or will I expand? That is ultimately up to me. Choose what I love right?

Which brings me to my point of those who do what they love, most people who do what they love, don’t start off with the best pay rate. Living paycheck to paycheck, working those two to three jobs, barley being able to pay your bills, is hard. It doesn’t matter how much you love your jobs, you just get worn out looking for that perfect job that you just want to love.

What if there was a different way to encourage those freshly graduated college students about their careers? What if we tell those graduates that just because we love what we do, doesn’t mean it’s easy, it involves hard work, and the love of the job can bring certain consequences. What if that was a person’s motivation? Not just the simple phrase, “do what you love.”

Let me put it this way, does a doctor love going into the hospital to see a random patient in the middle of the night after an extremely long shift? Does a journalist love covering the smallest and non-eventful event? Does a teacher love trying to control a classroom full of disrespectful children?Does a firefighter love entering a burning building?

Probably not. But that person does their job with a sense of purpose that, that so called love doesn’t truly capture.

We don’t have to become those who help people in the physical sense. We can’t all find jobs with obvious benefits to society. Not every job is as important as a doctor or a firefighter, but our passion is what makes up this world and our society.

When that graduate officially reaches out their hand for that diploma, all sorts of thoughts will probably be going through his or her head.

It starts off with a huge smile.

“I did it. I graduated.”

That smile soon turns into a forced smile.

“What’s next? Will I find that job that I want?”

“Will I be okay?”

The answer to all those questions? No one knows. Only you.

Yes, go and do what you love, but do it in a way that matters.