I used to listen to the Talking Heads a lot. In fact, these lyrics from their song, “Found a Job,” echo down the corridors of my mind to this day: “If your work isn’t what you love, then something isn’t right.”
There used to be a time when work was seen as a kind of punishment (I think it says that towards the beginning of the Old Testament). Nowadays, it’s taken for granted that everyone has to work and, therefore, you should be doing something you love. In fact, if you aren’t doing what you love, “then something isn’t right.”
Of course, “doing what you love” and “getting paid,” don’t always go hand in hand (though they can, just ask my former colleague, and achievement junkie, Nelson Rodriguez). The main reason is that most of the time the things people LOVE to do – eat, have sex, play music, paint, hunt, etc. – are difficult to get paid to do.
If you are a graphic designer, for example, you probably got into that line of work not because you were obsessed with optimizing visual communication for maximum ROI, but because you love the visual arts and the act of creation. Still, you’ve probably discovered that, in order to get paid to exercise your aesthetic inclinations, you’ve got to serve an overarching commercial interest. If it’s about the money, it’s not about your vision or personal expression, anymore. It is, at least in the first instance, about the money.
For my part, I’m a writer and have always wanted to be a writer. I didn’t take a job with Aquent as a writer but, over time, that has come to be a central and essential part of what I do here. In a sense, I followed the money (the job, really) and gradually figured out how to do what I love within that context.
How have you bridged the devilish and bedeviling divide between love and money? Have you? Did you choose one over the other?