Personal development gurus and motivational speakers promise that those who do what they love will never work a day in their lives - and those lives will be filled with happiness and purpose. But writer Miya Tokumitsu insists that the “Do What You Love” mantra is bad for work and workers. As a working mother with two children to influence, I find myself wondering what I believe and what I want to teach the next generation of workers.
All work can be rewarding.
People who subscribe to entrepreneur blogs and attend leadership seminars are unlikely to believe that garbage collecting falls under the “do what you love” umbrella. Tokumitsu also seems to assume that those who “clean hotel rooms and stock shelves at big-box stores” are incapable of loving what they do.
I believe there is love to be found in all work, especially work that is necessary and hard.
A hotel maid can take pride in her part in making a couple’s annual getaway special. A grocery clerk can work to become more productive and efficient. When picking up shifts as a banquet server, I throw myself into being exceptionally hospitable to every guest I encounter.
The key in these situations is perhaps not to do what you love, but to find a way to love what you do.
Necessary work is noble work.
Tokumitsu points out in her article that doing what you love is a privilege reserved for the elite. The rest of society works not for love, but for money. I admit that I appreciate her honesty here, because I’ve never had the opportunity to choose between working or not working.
When earning an income is not a choice, it’s easy to find yourself in a job that was available rather than a calling. It’s easy, too, to resent that necessary but possibly unglamorous job.
I want my kids to know that they can always choose to be proud of working. They can be proud of providing for themselves and their families. I want them to value their own usefulness as members of a larger economy, no matter where their current position in may be.
I also want them to believe that they have the power to choose their position, even if they have to carve out a new space that fits.
Every job is worth your best effort.
Whether my children are working in food service or launching their own business, I hope that they respect themselves enough to do their best.
I hope that they always remember that someone is counting on them to do their job and that they honor their commitments to both employers and customers.
I hope, too, that they learn to value their own time and talents. I hope they demand to be paid in more than love, and that they understand doing what they love is what they can give back to the world.
What do you want to teach your kids about work? Share in the comments.
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