The “Do What You Love” Problem

One of my favorite blogs, non-cancer-related, is Ask a Manager, all about job searching, hiring, and the workplace. She has written in the past about her disagreement with “do what you love” advice – when people say that you should follow your passion in life and do what makes you happy. She believes it is classist, in that only people with privilege can do what they truly want to do without having to make money to eat or have shelter. 

I read another article about this today in the NYTimes, here

Every time I read these things, I think to myself, “This is not true if you’ve had cancer.” You could interchange any life-threatening experience with “cancer” in that sentence, I suppose.

Cancer makes you think differently about life and its meaning… at least it has for me. I am curious to know what others think:

Has having cancer/another life-threatening experience made you more focused on doing what you love as your life’s work? 


One thought on “The “Do What You Love” Problem

  1. Cara, I have not had cancer or any life threatening illness and know that, in that, I am truly blessed. And I am acutely aware that there are numerous people who just need A job. However, I have experienced other life changing experiences that have had a major impact on how I lead my life. I have been widowed , and suddenly , two times, once when I was 35 and once when I was 52. I was not working the first time; I was the second time. What I decided about the unpredictability of life was that I would savor every moment , not sweat the small things ( like that it’s hot in August !) and to ” gather ye rosebuds while ye may!) I have been blessed to love the two careers that I have had. As a result, I have been “doing what I love.” Although many people don’t have that opportunity, I think it behooves all of us to find something that we do love, something that gives us pleasure , something that gives meaning to our lives and to do that as often and as intensely as we can, whether or not it is part of a job or career.
    So, these two major challenges, and other more recent ones, yes, have had an impact on how I lead my life . While I was already in a career in which I was ” doing what I loved,” I had to make other major decisions about my life to guarantee that I could continue ” gathering those rosebuds ” . I have learned that life is unpredictable and that I have the ability and the necessity to make decisions that ensure that I can live the rest of my years in peace and harmony, being true to myself and being of service to others . It was not important that some may not have understood those decisions; what was important was that I knew that they were necessary !

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