Is loving your job a bad thing?

Is loving your job a bad thing?

If you like to do something you do it often, whether it’s playing sports, designing, gaming, cooking or blogging. If you’re one of the lucky people in the world who actually manages to do this and make money from it you’re actually working whether you like it or not.

Someone asked the other day, “What do you want to do?”, as if to make me think at the moment I wasn’t truly doing what I wanted. It was an out of the blue question which got me thinking, in an idea world what would I like/love to be doing?

Since starting work at 15 I’ve had 8 different jobs and only 3 of these I have not liked. They paid bills. Some people are fortunate in finding a job which they enjoy or love which also pays for you to have a comfortable lifestyle, one where you can enjoy your life both ‘at work’ and ‘at home’. I’m not talking about being extravagant and going on multiple holidays a year, I’m talking about going to cinema, a gig or visiting places that you want when you want to.

The building in which I work is on the same campus as a University, I’m saddened to see people younger than myself heading to get an education knowing full well nearly 90% of them gaining a high-end qualification (degree level) will probably not end up in a job which they enjoy.

I didn’t go to University. I chose to make my own life choices, to better myself personally and professionally in something that I loved and it ended up being in design and online *stuff*. This has meant that at 27, I’ve got a lot of experience in multiple areas that I use to do my work and I’ve also done a lot where I’ve gained life experience. Experience is what will get you through just about anything, I firmly believe this. I believe that experience is the one thing that has guided and is still guiding me through my professional life.

I’m currently one of those people who is fortunate enough to actually love what I do. I get asked one question a lot. What do I have to do to get in to design? And time and time again is that you need to live, sleep, eat and breathe it. Our industry moves so fast that at the best of times its hard to keep up, never mind if you treat it like a 9 to 5 job. I also think that the design industry is unique in being one of the only types of work that people can genuinely fall in love with on such a large scale. Take web conferences for instance, the majority if not all of the attendees go to a web conference because they enjoy being a part of the hustle and bustle of the industry, they enjoy learning and they most certainly enjoy meeting up with people and discussing design/development over a beer. I just couldn’t see this happen in other industry’s like teaching or nursing. You’d almost always see other industry’s forcing themselves to go to a conference or spending hours outside of work on work-related activities.

Whether it be designing, planning, writing or the many other things I end up doing from day to day there isn’t much that gets me down about what I do for ‘work’. Most of the people I speak to outside of our industry think I’m crazy. Whenever they ask me what I’m doing they receive the usual answer of “Just working…”. It’s the easiest way to explain to them that I’m doing something I enjoy. It eliminates long conversations about what I’m doing so I can get back to it.

I enjoy and love what I do and there shouldn’t be a problem with that. I enjoy working longer hours, it means I can do more, I can read more, I can speak to people more. I know a lot of people who work longer hours and from what I gather, they never complain as they’re always doing something ‘cool’.

In noticing this article by Paul Boag where he discusses the point about working too much being bad for you, I had to agree to most of it. I believe even if you do love your work so much, you have to be realistic about how much your body can take. From experience, I now know that an all-nighter will ruin me the next day and will take me another couple of days to get back to normal. However, I believe that working more hours in the day when you can is not a problem and everyone should try to do a bit of reading / writing or just trying something new whether it be coding or designing to keep us on top of our game.

We’re fortunate people.

Published by

Gavin

Lead Interaction Designer at DigitalDWP. Organiser of Industry, The Practical Web Conference..

6 thoughts on “Is loving your job a bad thing?”

  1. “I chose to make my own life choices”

    – Surely university *is* a life choice?

    “The building in which I work is on the same campus as a University, Iā€™m saddened to see people younger than myself heading to get an education knowing full well nearly 90% of them gaining a high-end qualification (degree level) will probably not end up in a job which they enjoy.”

    – This I agree with: friends who went to LSE, Kings College, Cambridge, Oxford, Durham all seem to have ‘good’ jobs in ‘good’ companies they despise: long hours, dull work, just well compensated in money. It’s a shame that people feel so pressured in to working like that when they could be enjoying their lives!

    As you point out, even if you love your job, there comes a time when you need to rest: I’m slowly trying to eradicate working at the weekend (a bit of a losing battle at the moment!) because even though I might enjoy it, I feel a lot more refreshed for the week after 2 days off.

    1. Hi Richard,

      In my honest opinion I don’t believe that you can gain as much life experience through university as you can outside of university. Once you’re in university (for most people) it’s very hard to gain extra experiences other than the ones associated with university.

      Your example of your friends is exactly what I’m getting at, loving your job and working longer hours shouldn’t be frowned upon and it’s certainly a shame that a lot of people end up in jobs they dislike and end up working long hours. To be called mad for working longer hours when you’re doing something you enjoy is insane as longer as you realise there are times when its best to just sit back and relax and not burn the candle at both ends.

      Thanks again for the comment. šŸ™‚

      Gavin

    1. Hey Tyron,

      I wish that more people thought the way you do, we are a small but fortunate few. Just read through your article, very valid and inspiring. Thanks to the @obox tweet šŸ™‚

      Gavin

  2. It’s like I’m reading an article based on my own thoughts, thanks for writing this Gavin.

    After reading first several paragraphs I immediately thought of Paul’s article, only to later find out you mentioned it.

    But to be honest, I don’t think ruining your health etc is what he meant.

    I think the point is, even if you were a robot and you could work 24/7 without running into any kind of problems – you shouldn’t.

    You work shouldn’t be your life, no matter how much you love it. It’s NOT that important and it shouldn’t be THAT important to devote most of your time to it.

    Spend time with your friends, with your family, you beloved one, your kids. Spend time relaxing, take a trip, take a walk, etc etc. Spend, what’s supposed to be your free time, OUTSIDE of the work scope. There are many more important things than our jobs.

    I recommend you read this short post from Chris Brogan: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/myths-of-the-modern-age/

    He makes it more clear with less words.

    Cheers!

    1. Hey Michal, thanks for stopping by. Great little article there by Chris.

      I went away for a week to Greece this year with nothing but a book instead of an iPhone, iPad or laptop. I’ve never been so chilled out in my life. Whilst what I do means a lot to me, just taking that week out to realign myself helped greatly and I would press upon anyone to do it.

      Gavin

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