It’s not just an Oingo Boingo song – it’s a question many of us ask ourselves over and over again throughout life.
Some of us envy those folks who figured everything out when they were still kids, but even they sometimes discover an entirely different path later in life. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that getting paid is not the sole function of work. You will hear dozens of people throughout your life say that work is not supposed to be something you love. That your passion should be kept as a hobby so that you can thoroughly enjoy it, no pressure.
Will it change the way you feel about, say, baking if you do it for a living? Yes, it won’t be that thing you just do when you feel like it and for only your own enjoyment. But will you honestly regret doing something that you are both passionate about and good at for the rest of your life? Maybe that makes a difference you, maybe it doesn’t. In my experience, if I don’t like what I’m doing, all the money in the world isn’t going to make a difference.
If you are thinking of finding a new career, then consider this. Is it going to be easy? Not at the beginning, no . But take a look around you and ask yourself how many people in your life are doing jobs that they really love. Work that may frustrate and stress them out sometimes, but that they still look forward to on all those other days. Why shouldn’t you have a job that you personally find meaningful and rewarding? And don’t let anyone define that for you.
If your perfect job is working the sales floor in retail, maybe for a company you have long admired, then go for it. If your perfect job is working as a clerk in what other people think is a boring environment, it doesn’t really matter what they think. And, hey, if you decide to give up your huge government salary because you’ve decided that the stress isn’t worth it and you’ve decided to take up farming, you are far from the first person to have done so – in fact, in the DC area you are in good company.
The idea that not everybody can live their dream is a sad, oppressive one (and likely limited by what many people consider a worthy dream). Don’t let other people’s small ideas of how the world should work keep you down.