The Dark Side Of “Do What You Love” – Skills And Abilties

map world continents

(Steve takes a break from his usual positive approach to look at the dark side of “Do What You Love” as career advice and why it deceives, deludes, or just doesn’t cover difficulties. Ready for more cynicism peppered with advice, dive into the toxic swamp of careers again!)

OK, OK, so you heard “Do What You Love” as job advice. Well that condensed pice of career tripe doesn’t cover a lot of really hard things. We’ve looked at how it ignores your circumstances, the psychological issues it ignores or causes, and how it does nothing to help you know what the hell to do. Let’s flip the switch back to the larger world and look at locations.

Because location still is everything, and “Doing What You Love” becomes a lot harder when you realize what that means.

You’re Going To Have To Move

Odds are that your current living place? Yeah, if you’e still up for “Doing What You Love” for a living, you’re probably going to have to move.

First of all, odds are that any dream job you want to pursue isn’t going to happen where you are currently. Industries have their special places, you may need to be near certain resources (like universities), and so on. Some jobs may have you traveling around the state/province, country, or world

Secondly, even if you live in the perfect spot to “Do What You Love” you may have to leave for the right education. The schools near you may not be what you need (or you can’t afford them). You may need to go away to come back for that matter.

Third, you may have to take internships or engage in similar “career building activities” that takes you away from where you are now. You gotta go where the opportunities are, even if you have to go away and come back.

Finally, even if you’re all ready to get going, the place you live may not be affordable as a “starter city.” Take it from a guy living in Silicon Valley whose natural thriftiness nearly gives him hives whenever he pays rent.

In fact . . .

The Right Place Is Probably Expensive

So even if you live in o move to the place to “Do What You Love” odds are it’s going to be pricey. All those cities people talk about moving to so they can live their dream? Yeah, jut go look at the rental rates and realize what I was complaining about last section.  No, go, look, trust me.

Now some of us can work around this. Some of us aren’t this unfortunate, but a lot of people aren’t that lucky.

Oh, and those places people are moving to because it’s cheaper and less costly? Yeah, keep an eye on those as . . .

You May Move To A Place You Hate

The ideal place for your job ay be a place you despise.

Sure you can pursue your dream job in City X or State Y. But is it the kind of place you want to live? Make friends? Even if you can afford it? Or will it just be something you have to tolerate, making “Do What You Love” seem rather a small benefit for the sheer disgust you feel during the two-hour commute or finding no social opportunities.

Also, don’t count on telecommuting. Sure I’d like to see more of it, sure I’ve seen some companies pull it off. I’d also note I haven’t seen it used nearly as much as it could be or as well as it could be.

Though even if you like it . . .

The Place You’re In May Change

Maybe you live in the perfect place to “Work the dream.” Maybe you even like it.

There’s no reason to assume it’ll stay that way.

An economic downturn, natural disaster, industry shifts, political change, and more can suddenly make your chosen living spot not so livable. Sure the changes may be temporary, but temporary can be in a scale of more years than you’re willing to put up with.

By the way, if you live in an ideal area and don’t pay attention to local economics and politics, you’re just asking to be blindsided.

The Job May Move

So you have the “Do What You Love” job and like the location you’re in? No reason to assume the job’s going to actually stay there.

Companies, jobs, positions move all the time for various reasons. Acquisitions, reorganizations, seeking lower tax rates, really dumb decisions, market fads, all come into play. You may suddenly find (as a friend of mine did once) that it’s either move it or loose it.

In the long term, entire industries can migrate (though I find often not as far). Better pay attention or your Dream Job moves elsewhere.


Location issues are seriously ones that sneak up on people, and I’ve seen them hit folks prety hard. Simply, where you live -or have to go – may end up dashing your dreams. It’s also too easy to give upbased on this fact.

But maybe you can rally against it.

  • On Having To Move – Live with it. Accept it. Do your research on cities and places to live and work for education, jobs, etc. Maybe you can head off things or go where you like.
  • Expensive Places to Live – Learn to do a budget, follow salary and price trends, and be a cheapskate. If you’re going to live the dream, do it responsibly.
  • On Living In Places You Hate – Sorry, but this does happen. It’s best to explore your options for where you have to live or go so you make the best decision. A temporary move isn’t a bad idea if you plan to get out.
  • Places Changing – Stay aware, very aware of local economics, politics, and society. For that matter go and get the heck involved if you actually like it. And I always recommend having an exit plan in case
  • Jobs Moving – Keep your ears open for changes and decide early on if you really are dedicated to living in a certain area or not. If not, fine, but if you are, have backup plans.

Also, keep trying that telecommuting. I have seen it done well and properly, so you might just pull it off.

I think we can work around location limits, but it takes effort.

– 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