Attend enough startup conferences or listen to enough motivational speakers and you’ll hear one piece of advice repeated over and over again: You’ve got to love what you do! If you don’t love what you do, you might as well stay home. No less a giant than Steve Jobs famously told Stanford’s 2005 graduating class, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
I don’t buy it. via Jason Fried at signalvnoise.com
Yeah, I don't either Jason.
Finding what you love is like finding success. How many people quit when they were on the doorstep of success, when all they had to do is take one more step?
That's one point.
Here's another. It's work. You're a professional, right? There are times you have to work and it's work and it's not wildly meaningful work with each breath you take. You're an adult, you've made a commitment and you're honoring that commitment.
Here's another. Sometimes it's a stepping stone. Maybe you're starting at the lowest rung. It's the price you pay to get where you need to go.
Maybe it's where you're making your stand. Here's where you plant your flag, you're digging in, and you're going to do what it takes with this company right here to ... move up, to get a leg up as John Mellencamp sings.
I made a similar stand when I started work as entry-level customer service rep. I made just north and I mean just north of what I made being unemployed. But I thought, you know, this is where I make my stand. And I did. Crappy days ensued and telling "my boys" who were brokers and traders of my new job didn't help. But more good days came around. I moved up, I lived overseas, I traveled around the world.
There were many days on that journey where I did not "Love" my work, my job, the immediate task. But I had a responsibility to the company who paid me, who trusted me with customers and sales agents and vendors. I had a responsibility to myself and my team and those I convinced to come work for a startup.
Being honest about that responsibility and that truth - I don't always love my work, this day, this task - helped me be honest with them that it's okay if they sometimes feel the same way. We could talk out what it was that bothered them and find a solution or an understanding of its temporal nature. And we then could usually laugh about "the situation."
Now "not loving" your work is different than "hating" it and continuing to hate it. That's another issue.
But, no you don't have to love your work. That's okay, too.