Social Question

wildpotato's avatar

Is (or was) your work an expression of what gives you joy in life, or is it just a day job? How did you come to be in one or the other of these positions?

Asked by wildpotato (13574 points ) February 5th, 2013

If your work is personally satisfying, how long did it take you to discover it? Did you hold many day jobs before you found your career? Was it the awfulness of the jobs-only-for-money that made you keep looking to change your path, or was it always a dream of yours to do a particular kind of work? Or did you just fall into it?

If you hold a day job, are you content with doing work you are not passionate about, and saving your passions for your leisure time? What keeps you from pursuing those passions as a career choice? Did you used to have a career you loved and something happened? Did you train for something you thought you would love but then partway through realize it wasn’t for you?

Retirees: did you get to where you wanted to be in your professional life before you retired?

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39 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I spent so many years doing jobs I hated. Now I have found a job I love. It was circumstance and putting money first that got me into years and years of an industry that bored me to tears. However, i did look for the creative side of it, which kept me going.

I plan to work after retirement. Why stop doing something you love!

zenvelo's avatar

It’s not one or the other for me. I enjoy my job and my industry, but it does not give me “the joy in my life”. And it is not just a day job, at times I have gotten satisfaction from starting changes that have changed the business. So I believe it is a spectrum, and I am in the middle.

There are jobs that I would be wholly involved with from a passion perspective, but they don;t pay all that well. I’ve looked into it in the past, and maybe I could end up very well off after years of hard work, but that is a hard thing to pull off when raising two kids and paying spousal support to an ex wife.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

@Shippy What do you do?

Shippy's avatar

@Mama_Cakes I do massage healing. Currently I am focusing on Kahuna. But soon I am traveling to the UK, where I will study Tantra and Tantric Massage. My primary goal will be sexual healing. I am also very interesting in making my own oil blends, soaps and spays. I am making bath salts at the moment. With Himalayan Salt and a few secret additives.I am so interested in human sexuality and healing. Some information here and here NSFW** here

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

When I’m doing my archaeology I do get a kind of feeling of peace which is strange if I’m in a cowfield and its raining. I have always enjoyed doing things such as exploring castles and ruins and I still get the same feeling when I come across a bit of pottery even though I may have found thousands of pieces of the same type over the last 20 years.

I still enjoy trying to solve that puzzle of what went on at a particular location and I think I have been quite lucky as I knew from early on that I had an interest in it and managed to go and study it and then work in it.

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marinelife's avatar

I love my work. I love interacting with teams of people on a project. I love editing. I love writing.

jordym84's avatar

I’m fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to try out a few different jobs while in college to help me determine where my true passion lies. I adore my current job and I can tell how much I enjoy it by the simple fact that I can’t wait to get up in the morning to go to work and my 8-hour shifts just seem to fly by on a daily basis. Call me crazy, but every day, at the end of my shift, I find myself wishing I could stay longer. It’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life but it’s a stepping stone towards my bigger goals and, for the time being, it’s the perfect job for me with the perfect company (and I hope to further my career within the company).

rojo's avatar

When I went into business for myself (with a parner) instead of working for someone else it was exciting even though I was still doing essentially the same work. There was a thrill knowing that you could make or break it yourself; what I did mattered.
But, that was 19 years ago and, as they say, the bloom is off the rose. Now it is a job and a somewhat monotonous one at that.
Maybe we should all change careers every seven years just for the change and the challenge.

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Seek's avatar

It’s a day job. Better than many, but sometimes I feel it’s not worth the time away from my son. Unfortunately, my son and I would have to live in a cave if I wasn’t working.

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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Flame off, folks. No need to make this personal.

Shippy's avatar

@augustlan I wish it were personal, I don’t even know this person.

Bellatrix's avatar

If your work is personally satisfying, how long did it take you to discover it?

I didn’t start working towards the career I have now until I was in my 30s. The job I do now is sort of a combination of the work I did before, my studies, work I did while studying. So years really.

Did you hold many day jobs before you found your career?

There is a post here about past work. I have had a few jobs.

Was it the awfulness of the jobs-only-for-money that made you keep looking to change your path, or was it always a dream of yours to do a particular kind of work? Or did you just fall into it? I was at home looking after my children and decided I wanted more from my worklife and since I had time, I started to study. I hadn’t ever even thought of working in the field I do now. So, while I wouldn’t say I ‘fell’ into it, it wasn’t a conscious decision. It was a gradual process of gaining knowledge, experience and skills that culminated in this job. I saw the ad and it could have been written for me.

I am passionate about my work. I have a great job on many levels. I do find I work too much and since I tend to believe we ‘work to live’ rather than ‘live to work’ I strive to find work-life balance. I have a good situation in both my work and home life and I don’t want either to spoil the other. I want the best of both worlds!

rojo's avatar

@Bellatrix Personally, my work did not start off being unsatisfying. I actually enjoyed doing what I was doing but over the years I have grown tired of the handholding and repetetiveness of the job. I think this not uncommon when you reach the point where it feels like the challenges have been met and overcome or when it becomes a case of tilting at windmills and the windmills are winning.

Bellatrix's avatar

@rojo I think that’s very common. I agree. At the moment – and for the foreseeable future, my job is so changeable and I work with such a diverse group of people, I don’t have time to get bored and I constantly face new challenges. Since I love this about my job, I’m happy with it. I get bored very easily and I need to keep challenging myself to avoid things becoming hum drum. So I do hear you @rojo.

augustlan's avatar

I fell into both of my current jobs, and love them both! I work more than ever, even though the two jobs combined don’t pay enough to live on. All because I love the work. Neither is really a ‘day job’, because in both cases I actually work for myself and set my own schedule, which varies widely. I was in my forties when they came my way.

Being the manager here at Fluther has been a wonderful experience in my life, and four years ago I didn’t even know such a position existed. I found Fluther completely by accident and liked the site so much I joined and stayed. Eventually, I was asked to become a volunteer moderator and joined the mod team. When our previous community managers both stepped down, Andrew asked me to step in. How lucky am I? Well, most days!

When I had to take a big salary cut on this job, I asked a question here about ways to piece together a living. I listed my interests and skills, and a fellow jelly contacted me to see if I’d be interested in doing freelance editing. One test article later, and I was a professional editor. I adore it, and feel like it’s what I should have been doing all along.

Prior to that, I never had a job I loved, though I did like them all for the most part. I mainly worked as an administrator or financial person during my earlier career (office manager, accounting). The parts I always enjoyed most were the writing aspects (which was pretty good training for being an editor) and setting policy (which was pretty good training for managing Fluther).

I was also a stay-at-home mom for 14 years, which is pretty good training for managing Fluther, too, haha. Also the best job of them all. Well, most days!

wildpotato's avatar

Wowsers, WTH happened here? That’ll teach me to ask a question right before class!

Thanks for your answers, everyone. This is making me feel better about being 27 and choosing to abandon my current career path. And I’m glad so many of you have found jobs you love!

@Shippy Sorry someone was giving you guff! Your job sounds really cool. How did you discover that you like doing that sort of work?

@augustlan So that’s how one becomes an editor, eh? I’ve been wondering.

augustlan's avatar

@wildpotato Haha, I don’t think it’s the usual way one becomes an editor. ;)

Bellatrix's avatar

@wildpotato I believe our Hawaiian jelly would be able to give you info about becoming an editor.

augustlan's avatar

@marinelife and Jeruba are editors, too.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I used to be a freelance copy editor. I read a lot – a lot – of really bad stuff to find one or two good ones. I did the job for four years, and in that time, four books made it into print. It’s an incredibly difficult business. (I do not count self-published books.)

I started in the business by searching for proofreading and editing sites online. I found a lot and sent my resume to every single one. I got some work that way and steadily built my own client list from there. I had my own website at one point.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I love being a nurse. I thought about being a nurse when I was in high school, but decided to pursue other things instead. A few years later, with no actual career in site, I decided to go to nursing school.

I have worked in hospitals and in a doctor’s office. I’ve been at the bedside and I’ve been a charge nurse. Now I am the Chief Nursing Officer for my hospital. I get to make a difference for my patients and my staff now and I love it.

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