A Bean Counter's Way

Love What You Do – Views on Work and Education

Love What You Do – Advice for my children

The saying goes, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”  While this saying sounds nice, sometimes if just do what you love you will also end up broke. it’s discipline, effort, and commitment that really produce results.

The world operates off of supply and demand.  Odds are that the things you love doing, are also loved by many others.  Thus, you have to work extra hard to train yourself to be the very best if you really want to be successful in career fields where there is much more supply of workers than demand for talent.  A large supply of applicants in your chosen field can lead to the threat of being easily replaced, intense pressure to perform, short careers, and burnout.

The better saying is, “Learn to love what you do.”  Approach work with the right positive mindset.  Make a conscious effort to find small enjoyable successes at work and you will be far more likely to not only achieve success but also to lead a more joy-filled life.

The world needs people to fill the jobs that others may be either unwilling or under-skilled at doing. Get supply and demand working in your favor.  Do the jobs where it’s difficult to find workers and you will often command higher pay, and you may even find that the career ladder is easier to move up.

One of my favorite television shows is “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe.  He shines a spotlight on people who work at jobs that most other people would refuse to do.  These jobs may not require a degree from an expensive university but they need to be done.

I’m a teacher.  We just had college week at our school.  This is a week where kids learn about different colleges. The belief that a college education is required for a successful future is firmly promoted and instilled in students’ minds. While I participate in these activities, and I think it’s great to teach kids about the importance of a good education, I think we overhype the need for college.

I have many college degrees and certificates.  I have taken well over a hundred college classes. These days I learn better from reading blogs and watching videos online than I ever did by taking a college class.  All of my interests are just a search away.  So why is college needed?  Truth is that we still have not replaced college as a place that confers their certificate of trust in worthy candidates.  I’m talking about college degrees.  Colleges don’t just teach us, they test us.  Pass the tests and prove that you are skilled.  I believe this too will likely change. 

As the billionaire CEO of Tesla and Space X, Elon Musk famously said, “I think college is basically for fun and to prove that you can do your chores, but they’re not for learning… I don’t consider going to college evidence of exceptional ability.”  I think this idea that it doesn’t take a college education to succeed needs to catch on.  Instead, it takes discipline, hard work, commitment, and the right attitude.

The saying that leads people to do what it takes to get ahead is not, “Do what you love”, it is “Love what you do”.  Embrace work.  Celebrate the fact that skilled labor is needed in all fields.  Success isn’t just found sitting at a desk or in books, it’s also found in building your skill, and honing your craft in jobs that don’t require an expensive college education.  It’s good to look at where there is a need and work to learn how to fill that need.  Learn to love what you’re doing in the process.  The process requires making a choice, and then putting in the work.



Elon Musk says college is ‘basically for fun and not for learning’ | Elon Musk | The Guardian 2021


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