The Dark Side Of “Do What You Love” – Psychology

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So the series continues, where I take a break from my usual positive approach to look at why the job advice of “Do What You Love” is probably going to crash and burn for you. Sure, I think that’s a good piece of advice, but it’s only a piece and that’s the problem. It’s not the big picture.

So it’s time to stick our faces up to the problems of the idea of “Doing What You Love” for a living, take a deep whiff, and acknowledge how much the situation stinks.

Last time I looked at how the circumstances of your birth and situations outside of your usual control could destroy your dreams from the get go. There was also the added bonus of realizing how a-holes may be biased against you just for how you were born to top it off. Extra frosting for the depression cake as it were.

But let’s get away from situations and look at what is probably wrong with you when it comes to “Do What You Love.” Though there’s the added advantage of admitting you just may be deluding yourself with your dreams, so you can fix that.

It’s Being Lazy

Deciding “I’ll just do what I love for a living” may sound nice, but it’s often lazy as hell.

First of all, it’s easy to say this. It takes no effort, and the effort is where the real hard work is. It hasn’t helped that this advice has been reduced to a catchphrase, making it even lazier as of late.

Secondly, it’s kind of unimaginative. I mean do you know what you love? How would that work? What else can be done? I mean there have to be more options.

Third, let’s face it, some people do this because it sounds easy and fun, and people don’t want to admit it. Well, the truth is some people choose “Do What You Love” as a career path as they think it’s fun and easy bucks (and as we’ll cover in time, that’s usually a lie)

It’s Narrow Minded

As I noted, just saying “I’ll do what I love” is lazy but also it’s lazy because it’s a way to keep one from expending more effort to find one’s options.

Deciding to “do what you love” is incredibly narrow minded. The world is teaming with options. THe world offers a lot more than what you want to do for a living.

For that matter, maybe you can do what you love for a living but it won’t make a damn bit of difference anyway and you’ll wake up realizing you’ve written 90 crap novels or a bunch of video games no one plays anymore. There may be more meaningful options even if they’re not always “fun”.

But if your goal is to just “Do What You Love” you won’t find those options, and you may just get up one day to realize you’ve done what you love yet achieved nothing.

It’s Probably Unrealistic

If everyone could do what they love for a living the world would be a far different place. A lot more rockstars and novelists for one.

But the truth is, that your idea may just be unrealistic – or you’re being unrealistic. Just because you love something doesn’t mean you can do it, want to do it, or can make a living at it. Chances are if your entire career plan is “do what I love” then you’re just plain deluding yourself.

The world is a lot more complex than just “loving” something. For that mater . . .

It’s Probably Escapism

Too many times I encounter people who fantasize about how this great job will make things right forever. Never seems to happen – even if they “succeed.” Dissatisfaction is part of the human experience, a rather Noble Truth as it were.

Fantasizing about a dream job or dream profession is probably just escapism, it’s getting high on your own supply. If you’re talking of “Doing What You Love” constantly, you may have fallen into this trap – especially if nothing is resulting from it.

Getting Over Your Self

So the good news here is that when it comes to personal psychology, the barriers to a good career and dream job are YOU. Hopefully they can be overcome.

  • Deal With Being Lazy – by doing your research on a job opportunity and getting to work. Find out what you have to do and start a project and plan now. I dare you.
  • Deal With Being Narrow Minded – By doing research. Find out what else you can do in life – I guarantee it will shock you out of your complacency. And for that matter research gets you over your laziness.
  • Deal With Being Unrealistic – By being bloody realistic – not in the “giving up sense” (that’s also unrealistic) but by figuring out how the hell you get where you want. Better to fail knowing what you’re doing than never trying o giving up for no good reason.
  • Deal With Being Escapist – By doing the above. If you really think you can and want to live this dream, then do your research, get to work, and give it a shot. Dive right into harsh reality – you might be surprise how deep you get.

Your situation of birth is your primary deterrent to your success. The second one? That barrier is you.

Good luck with that fight. Maybe you can win it and put you in your place.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at