To be in love with one’s work.
What a gift!
No matter your motivation, it’s important to ‘like’ your job. Simply put, we deserve to enjoy the thing into which we’re sinking so many hours.
Americans, in particular, work a LOT; they average 34.4 hours a week, which is longer than their counterparts in other large economies. And here are some other workplace stats that might surprise you.
So why do so many people dislike their jobs?
In a way, this subsection about the Bliss Map is about just that.
But what about this aspect? “In Love with It” is one of the 4 quadrants of the Bliss Map. So what does that mean?
This aspect refers to the work itself. (‘work doesn’t necessarily mean ‘job’)
What is the meat of your work? Emailing? Building? Meeting with coworkers? Building little figurines by hand?
Now, how many of these things do you enjoy? How much time at work are you spending in enjoyable Engagement with your tasks?
Who Loves Their Work?
People who love their work enjoy being there day to day.
They may like the people that they work with, finding friendship and relationships. They may find that the work satisfies their curiosity or sense of growth.
Maybe the work is simply fun.
Maybe it’s so engaging that being at work begets a sense of Flow.
People especially love their work when the cornerstones of meaning are engaged, the enablers are fostered, and there is the presence of various happiness types.
With the “In Love With It” aspect, one enjoys the work they do by meeting some combination of various human needs. To list a few:
How about when we’re also Good At Our Work? (this is another of the 4 quadrants.)
When we are in love with what we do, and also good at it, one might call that Passion.
This state often well-describes a project or pursuit one has outside work:
“I spend a lot of time drawing maps of Middle Earth as described in J.R.R. Tolkein novels.”
“Oh yeah? Is that your Job?”
“Naw. It’s just a passion of mine.”
The world doesn’t really need these maps, and it’s unlikely to be paid for that work. Hence, a “Passion” is less likely to be a job.
Some examples may be:
And what about when we’re In Love with something and The World Needs It?
This is our ‘calling’. It might not be our job, per se, (not paid for it), and we may not even be good at it, but we feel compelled to do it. Maybe we’re inspired to do so from a sense of duty or moral value.
Some examples may be:
- Making food for homeless
1. “A hobby or minor occupation” – Oxford Dictionary
2. “A subordinate occupation pursued in addition to one’s vocation especially for enjoyment” – Merriam Webster
What isn’t visually explicit on the Bliss Map is the combination made by two opposite quadrants.
When we love it and we’re also Paid For It, you may call it an ‘Avocation’.
This is the job you do because you love it and it doesn’t hurt to have the extra income. It could likewise be what a retired person does as a job to fill their time and enjoy more freedom after retiring. Without necessarily being Good At It or the World Needing It, this work is fun and engaging, and provides extra income. It may also be where the ‘Good At It‘ doesn’t take long; the skills isn’t particularly an expression of oneself.
Some examples may be:
- Selling things on Ebay
- Flipping houses
- Collecting and selling antiques
- Running a hobby shop
How about when we have all 3? We’re in love with it, we’re good at it, and the world needs it, but we’re not necessarily paid for it.
Then we have fulfillment.
This state is the plight of service-oriented givers.
It can be a rut for many inspiring folks. Loads of people (maybe you know an artist, for example, who meets this description) resign themselves to a life of poverty (knowingly or not) by doing the work they’re called to do.
For better or worse, many are likely to walk this path, even if it barely pays the bills. And for good reason; at the end of the day, if someone is passionate and has a mission they are driven by one of life’s great gifts: a sense of purpose.
Sad as it may be, jobs that don’t pay aren’t sustainable in the long run. Money buys food, shelter, water…essential needs for survival which in turn help us meet other needs more easily.
If you’re in this position, it makes sense to see if your Passion/Mission can also be a job.
And, maybe that isn’t possible. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you’re an expert on knots.
This is what you’re passionate about! You’ve affectionately explored the many permutations of winding rope, and apply your depth of knowledge in physical form to tie knots. You’re Good At It.
You enjoy working with your hands and being whisked away in your imagination to the many possibilities of ropework. You Love It.
What’s more, people come to you for advice, trusting your expertise. Sailors, arborists, and other enthusiast need your help, and you happily give it to them. The World Needs It.
But there simply isn’t enough demand. You would love to pay the bills with your expertise somehow. In fact, you’ve been trying, and it simply isn’t working out. Sure, people need your expertise, but they are few and far between, and they’re not willing to pay what adds up to a living wage for your services.
So what’s next?
You have a few options:
- Keep looking for a job to meet your Passion/Mission.
- Make this Passion/Mission into a job by starting a viable business, etc.
- Find a job that pays the bills and allows you to pursue this Passion/Mission.
Number 1 and 2 are hard work, but it’s number 3 that’s really interesting.
It may be a tough pill to swallow for some to take a job in a field that isn’t their Passion.
And we’re here to tell you: it’s ok.
Finding the right job to pay the bills may give you the freedom to pursue your passion more.
Your ‘job’ does not need to define you. If it does, good for you. Maybe you’re meeting the aspects of the Bliss Map through your job, and that’s great. Yet, a person’s passion is not always cohesive with a practical 21st-century career. And that’s ok.
True, there is only so much time in a day. Needing to work a job that isn’t your Passion can be a massive time sink. But the fact remains: you’ll need to pay the bills.
People in this situation can be hard on themselves.
When you meet someone new and they ask you “So, what do you do?”, we carry a social stigma about ‘work.’
Nobody wants to say “What do I do? I work on an assembly line and check the quality of toothbrushes all day.” Because that’s not the end of the story.
And it doesn’t need to be the beginning, either.
When someone asks you “What do you do?”, tell them what you really do:
“I am really into knots. I’m a human encyclopedia of the many fascinating, useful ways we can bend rope around things and itself. I love it and I’m damn good at it.”
It’s neither here nor there whether it’s your job to do so. Nor is it relevant what your job is, if, to you, it’s simply a tool to enable your craft.
The following examples are to highlight how different people, even under the same circumstances, have highly individualized profiles on the Bliss Map. There is no one way to live a good life.
People working the same job can have very different Bliss Maps.
Angie is volunteer coordinator for an environmental non-profit. She has never needed money, because of her inheritance. And that’s lucky, because the job barely pays. She loves it. Every day at work feels like an adventure in which she uses her organization skills well, for a valuable cause. On a given day, her Bliss Map is pulsing with energy, averaging 90% from all quadrants.
Jason is also a volunteer coordinator. He feels similar to Angie about his job, but its low paycheck doesn’t bode well for him. This adds stress to the job and affects the other quadrants. He only ‘loves it’ when he isn’t thinking about the future and the sustainability of this job for his career plans.
Paul, too, is a volunteer coordinator. He loves it, but isn’t great at it. He especially appreciates that the world needs it, and feels satisfaction from the work frequently. To help pay the bills, he works as a stand-up comedian on the weekends and evenings. This balances his Bliss Map well.
And people working different jobs can have similar Bliss Maps.
Juan is studying to be an architect. He loves it, and is excited about the need it fulfills in the world. And he has a knack for it. But, as a student, he isn’t paid. He is running out of money, and it is an unsolved problem. It’s also a gaping hole in his Bliss Map.
Jane is a performance artist and activist. Her art calls attention to social justice issues. The ‘World Needs It’ quadrant of her map is usually full to the brim. She’s good at it and loves it too. She feels fulfilled, and yet her constant financial struggle necessitates some other form of income. She is still figuring that out.
Harold is also fulfilled, but unpaid. He moved recycled food for a non-profit mitigating food waste. He loves the work and is good at, enjoying the variety of driving, using his body, and meeting passionate civic-dutiful folks. Sadly, he is not paid enough to support him and his 3 kids, so he is constantly finding odd jobs to fill in the gaps.