Should You “Do What You Love” or Get a Job for Money?

Following your passion doesn’t mean you get to forget about your responsibilities.

If there were a manual for life, now would be the time for it to fall from the sky right on to my lap. There comes a time for all of us when we have to decide between creating our own opportunities that we are passionate about and if we need to get a job to pay the bills. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either, but I know for me I have a hard time picking up a job I am not passionate about just so I can make some money. A lot of this stems from the fact that my generation is told to “never settle”, “do what you love and love what you do”, and my ultimate favorite “if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life”. I agree wholeheartedly with all of these statements, but what my generation is not told (or maybe does not want to hear) is that we have to work hard to get where we want to be.

So this is how Daughter and Dad Monument Cleaning was born. My Dad and I power wash tombstones so that our client’s loved one’s final resting places are taken care of. To be honest, I started this business purely to pay for college, but I never expected the joys I would receive from doing this job. Every week of summer my dad and I would wake up early, pack up the truck with tools and go on our way to different cemeteries throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. We always stop to get breakfast at Sheetz or GetGo, and when we were done working, we finish it off with the nearest fast food joint. He never treated me like a girl or a boy but like a person who deserved to learn as much as they could. My favorite part about creating this business is when we blast 80s’ music at maximum level and sing at the top of our lungs as we travel through different highways and neighborhoods.

Following your passion doesn't mean you get to forget your responsibilities.

Luckily enough for me, I got to learn a trade from my dad that has been in the family for five generations. My dad has taught me how to start my own business, how to talk to clients and how my work ethic shows the type of person that I am. I may not be living the dream in the eye of most people, especially because of the fact I work in cemeteries, but I wouldn’t trade any of this work experience for another job. I have memories and lessons from my dad that will last a lifetime, and now, when I work for someone else, my dad’s voice will always be in the back of my head telling me to do the best I can no matter if I am a custodian at a school or the CEO of a company.

My parents have always been supportive of me and something they always say is, “A job will always teach you something. It may not teach you what you want to do in life, but it could teach you what you don’t want out of life.” As a young adult, I have heard this saying from my parents over a hundred times. Now I understand – when you reach for your dream job, sometimes you have to work at ten plus jobs beforehand. You will make new memories with co-workers, some good and bad, make new friends, and I guarantee you will make at least one customer’s experience excellent.

[Tweet “If we put our best into the job at hand, we will be better at the next step in our journey.”]

I think a “dream job” is a place we are always working towards. Even when we become successful in achieving our dream career, there is a part of us that sees more in ourselves. Our lives our constantly evolving. If we always put our best into the job at hand and honor where we are now, we will be better at the next step in our journey. The best part about work is that if we don’t like where we are, maybe because the work environment is toxic or the job makes you unhappy, there are plenty of opportunities to change that part of your life. You just have to have the courage to make that change.

You can read as many articles as you want about how you need to “quit your 9 to 5 and follow your dreams” (heck, we even have a few of those here and here if that’s what you need right now), but you are the only one who truly knows what is right for you. If your day job is still serving your in some way, whether through money, connections, learning opportunities, or whatever else, don’t let anyone (or any blog post) convince you that you have to leave it. But, if your job is doing more harm in your life than good, or if you find yourself happily planted in your comfort zone (growth doesn’t happen there), it may be time to reevaluate.

In the meantime, do not ever give up on your dream, but understand that it may take a few co-worker nightmares and early morning snoozes on your alarms until you get there.


Update:

I have had an epiphany over the last week that I must share with you all. To be honest I realized that I made a mistake. This mistake caused complete chaos within my mind and body for one whole night rarely letting me sleep. All of this over the fact that I thought I would be happy with a thought out and solid plan. I read once that if Plan A is our plan and it doesn’t work out then Plan B is a Higher Power that has a whole new idea for you. The irony of this all is that I just wrote this article on this very topic last week, but I have just now come to find my answer. If I am going to be spending my time and energy on something then I want to love what I do. This is just how I am programmed and I haven’t decided if it is a blessing or a curse just yet. (Hehehe) If I work hard enough and to my truest being then I know one day I will be compensated for what I love to do. Sometimes it may be the hardest road you take, but it is something that you can be proud of in the end.

Photo By: Kate Stutz