The old saying “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is certainly true in many ways. However, making money with your passions comes with some real disadvantages, too.
It’s wonderful to have a job that you enjoy. The attitude that we bring to the workplace really matters. Happiness improves productivity, efficiency and retention. But, is doing what you love really the only way to find that happiness professionally? There are some real downsides to earning a living doing what you love the most.
1. It’s hard to take breaks
It is a lot easier to throw yourself entirely into your work when you really love it. The problem is that having downtime is really important: breaks and vacations are healthy for us physically and mentally.
When you are super passionate about what you do, it can be really hard to turn it off at the end of the day. If and when you ever do step away from the actual work, ideas are still floating around in your mind.
You may even find that thoughts of work distract your mind when you’re asleep. Sure, in some ways it’s really wonderful to be so consumed with work that you love. But, it can also be really exhausting.
2. Other aspects of your life suffer
Maintaining good work-life balance isn’t just about managing stress. There are other reasons to hold on to the goal, even when you really love what you do.
No matter how much you enjoy your job, you need to have other things in your life, too. It’s easy to ignore family, friends, hobbies, exercise, etc., when you find so much joy at work. Do that long enough, and you’ll stop growing as a person.
3. Intense happiness can dampen creativity
Too much happiness can backfire on you.
At UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, June Gruber explains:
…we often are told that happiness can open up our minds to foster more creative thinking and help us tackle problems or puzzles. This is the case when we experience moderate levels of happiness. But according to Mark Alan Davis’s 2008 meta-analysis of the relationship between mood and creativity, when people experience intense and perhaps overwhelming amounts of happiness, they no longer experience the same creativity boost.
4. You might earn less
When you focus on doing what you love, you tend not to focus as much on other things — like pay, for example. There’s a certain amount of privilege involved in even thinking about work this way in the first place. If you enjoy the luxury of being able to prioritize “doing what you love,” it might also be a good idea to remind yourself that working is also about earning a paycheck.
It’s wonderful to be fulfilled by your job. But when that’s your focus, you could find that more practical compensations, like your paycheck, could really suffer.
5. Passions shift and change
Despite the drawbacks, there are still a lot of advantages to choosing a job that really excites you. However, don’t forget to take into consideration the fact that passions grow and change.
By all means, enjoy your job. Just don’t be surprised, if one day, you start to feel differently about it. Something that you thought you’d enjoy doing forever may only fulfill you for a few years or maybe even a couple decades. Then you could be ready for something else.
This is another good reason to keep other aspects of your life going. What would happen if you put absolutely everything into your job and then fell out of love with it? Better to spread the love around, and find joy in all aspects of your life.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you noticed any other downsides to loving what you do for a living? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.