Introduction: The Dark Side Of “Do What You Love”

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Me, I’m a positive guy. You’ve been reading my stuff, following this blog. You know I try to keep an upbeat attitude

There’s a reason for that – a good attitude is essentially engineering a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m not talking being naïve, I’m talking about keeping the kind of attitude that focuses on and maximizes the positive. I’ve seen more people defeated by a self-ruining narrative than a naïve one, to be honest – we’re usually our own worst enemies

However, there also times to admit that, when we get down to it, some things are awful. In fact, some good things are awful for that matter, or have awful sides.

And this comes to the phrase “Do What You Love” when it comes to talking jobs. You know it, you hear it, it’s practically de rigueur for any half-baked career coaching or even fully baked career coaching. Even I use it now and then, though I go beyond it.

The basic idea of “Do What You Love” as career advice makes sense; find a way to do what you like for money. There are two problems.

1) It’s been used as a panacea, chanted endlessly. I hear it so much that *I* am reducing how I use it because it’s become an empty, deceptive catchphrase.
2) In many cases it’s cruel, and it can even be elitist and deceptive as Slate Magazine notes.

Frankly, “Do What You Loke” is now a phrase of diminishing usefulness, pap advice, and concealing hard truths. So know what?

It’s time to go to the dark side.

For the next few weeks we’re going to look at what “Do What You Love” conceals, ignores, or deceives. We’re going to look at all the things it doesn’t cover. We’re going to look at the dark side.

If you want to live your dreams – or even have dreams and some hope – you need to confront the more unpleasant truths.

Gear up. Let’s get ugly.

– 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