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

office cube work

(Steve continues his descent into the pains of the job world that the flip advice “Do What You Love” avoids, doesn’t cover, or even actively keeps us from facing. Now, we’ll look at what happens when you actually get that dream job.”)

So you decided to “Do What You Love” for a living, and actually are doing it for a living. You overcame your circumstances, your ignorance, educational challenges, and more. By luck, pluck, or co-incidence you’re there. Congrats.

And you should be congratulated. Judging from a lot of people I talk to they’re no where near living their dreams, even the realistic ones. Please, contact me so you can blog here.

But now that you’re in the job, well, there’s a few things “Do What You Love” doesn’t cover. Like how much it’s probably going to suck.

Read more

The Dark Side Of “Do What You Love” – Breaking In

opening cave hole vilage

(We’re taking a break from the positive focus Steve usually has to look at why “Do What You Love” has a nasty flipside – namely it doesn’t get you ready for a lot of challenges. So let’s dive into what’s going to destroy you as you follow your dreams!)

So you’ve traversed all the challenges thrown at you as you try and “Do What You Love.” From circumstances to skill-building, from personal psychology to finding the right place, you made it. You’re ready to break into the industry of your dream job!

Well, now there’s a whole new set of circumstances on the way to your dream job that are ready to ruin your plans and your life. Let’s have fun exploring them.

Geting Discovered Won’t Work

You are not going t be discovered. Get. Over. It.

Oh sure, there’s a chance you’ll be discovered, but in general the chance is that if you sit around and wait to be recognized you’ll fail. It’s not going to happen. Working alone to make brilliant stuff means nothing if people don’t see it.

Remember when I talked about the other skills you needed? Self-promotion is one. If you don’t have that, doing what your love happens in the dark and no one cares. So stop waiting, start promoting.

No One Cares That You “Love It”

Sure, we want our employees and contractors and professionals to “lovee” what they do. But in general people don’t really care. They say they do, but when it comes down to it, “being able to do the job and having evidence” really is important.

Really, everyone says they “like” what they do or “love” it or “has a passion.” Even if you do, it doesn’t distinguish you from all the other people who just say they do. Actions speak louder than words especially when they’re all the same damn words.

So your “Doing what I like claims” don’t mean too much.

Recruiting Sucks

Hiring, finding work, getting hired, recruiting people, is a freaking nightmare. I’ve written about this before, I’ll continue to do so.

So you “love what you do.” That means you not only have to be good and overcome any other issues, you then face poorly worded job ads, confusing recruiting processes, stressed recruiters, insane interview processes, and more. That’s also on top of the fact that all the people talking to you may not really know what’s going on because you do what you do, and they don’t – they hire.

Also there’s a chance you’re a really lousy interview, so you’re making it harder on them. Also that resume composed only of bullet points and run-on paragraphs doesn’t help.

Finding your ideal job is going to face the fact the hiring and recruiting process is a mess.

Yes, It Is Who You Know

Yes, it is who you know. Sorry. Want to get into the right job, you gotta know the right people or know how to know them.

People will hire someone they know. People will hire someone who’s part of their club. People will hire someone their parents knew. People will hire someone from the college they went to. People will hire someone they relate to

And yes it’s a pain. And yes it’s wrong in a lot of cases. But people go with what’s known – including other people. In a lot of cases, can you exactly blame them?

Time to get that networking going, if you didn’t guess.

It Takes Time To Break In

You’re not going to suddenly break into your dream job. It’s going to take time, and effort, if only to overcome all the other odds making your dream job a nightmare. Sorry.

No, no one probably told you how long it’ll take. And no, not all the things you read apply. Also all the things you thought you knew probably changed since you started your career plans. Sorry.

Early Pay Probably Is Bad

My younger friends often tell me about the sad pay rates they face. Actually my older friends often mention this as well if they made a career change.

Starting out in your dream career is probably going to be pretty low pay-grade wise. If you can overcome that great, but be prepared.

And yes, you wonder why people would take these jobs. Maybe because you hire folks that want to “do what you love” and figure they’ll take lousy pay. So there’s also a chance you’ll get suckered.


So, yeah breaking into your “Do What You Love” job is fraught with all sorts of dangers and frustrations. These are usually the things people don’t focus on. Probably as they’re focused on the “after.”

What can you do? Let’s try and see if there’s ways to deal with the soul-crushing issues of breaking in

  • Getting Discovered – Don’t wait for it. Get visible. Get connected Put your portfolio online. Do stuff. Sell yourself. Start now.
  • People Don’t Care If You Like It – Well yo still want to mention this, but put your money where your mouth is. That’s what people care about – portfolios, examples, etc. See the part on “Getting Discovered”
  • The Problems In Recruiting – First of all remember the process is nuts, so go and help out. Help recruiters understand – their job is a pain. Make good resumes. Learn to “read” job postings to get to reality.
  • It Is Who You Know – Well you can’t eliminate people’s biases and nepotism, so start networking, connecting, and getting to know people. Be a good choice.
  • Taking Time – Don’t get impatient. Play the long game. Yes the dream job takes time, if you ever get there. It could take years or require you to work up.
  • Early Pay – Know your salary rates, make yourself worth it, and learn to do a budget. A tight budget.

As much as I find breaking in is hard, I’ve seen people do it. Just remember a “Dream Job” dream doesn’t mean anything unless you can make it real.

– 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

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.

Read more