A Round of Applause for Those Boring, Spiritually Unfulfilling Jobs

March 22, 2012 at 9:55 PM 22 comments

On Monday J.D. of Get Rich Slowly wrote a post called Burgers or Blogging? Further Thoughts on Pursuing Your Passion. In it he points out that even a “dead-end job can be fun, meaningful and fulfilling under the right circumstances.” While I’ve never worked at a dead-end job I can attest to the fact that an often boring and spiritually unfulfilling job should never be looked down upon. These days a lot of bloggers write about becoming rich off their blogs. They dream of a world where they can wake up in their pajamas and write when they are inspired. I for one think there should be more praise for the guy, (or gal), who works nine-to-five. I don’t think people give enough credit to the value a boring, even spiritually unfulfilling job can provide.

I worked for twelve years as a software developer. While I was initially interested in the problem solving aspects of this role I found it quite difficult to spend the majority of my working hours staring at a computer. Unlike your stereotypical nerd I prefer the company of humans to those of machines. My favorite projects were those that required a significant amount of collaboration and teamwork; projects where we spent days and weeks discussing the best designs and tweaking our plans along the way. I’d like to think that most of my days were spent working in this manner, but as the years went by I actually found myself working on more isolated applications, which meant I spent more time staring at a computer and less time interacting with others. (This was more a factor of the company I worked for than the career itself.)

So why didn’t I leave that job for something I felt more passionate about? The answer is simple… I earned a six figure salary from that gig.

I realize this is not an option for everyone. I realize that a lot of people make a lot less money and so they are willing to dump their day job for something they are more passionate about. If you can make the same salary pursuing your passion than I see no reason to remain in your boring day job, but if you make a lot of money I see no reason to leave it all behind.

Working at that boring, spiritually unfulfilling job enabled me to purchase three properties and still save a significant amount of money each month. (It didn’t hurt that my husband earned an equivalent amount). With that money in the bank I now have the option of staying home with my son.

By pursuing my passion I may have been happier to go to work, but I wonder if I would’ve been happier overall. I have a lot of friends who make very little in their spiritually fulfilling jobs. While they enjoy their work they are often stressed by their financial situations. That stress carries over into every aspect of their lives particularly their home life and marriages.

It’s important to realize that sometimes the money from a day job can help you live the life you really want. I don’t mean wasting your money on things you don’t need, but rather spending money wisely to pursue your interests and passions. In fact, with money in the bank the possibilities can expand to things you never dreamed of. Initially you may have to pursue your passions at night or on the weekends, but one day you may wake up and realize you can focus your attention on the things you truly love.

Just my two cents… What do you think?

Entry filed under: work. Tags: .

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. newlyweds budget  |  March 23, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Love this! It’s sooo true! I keep readig about how my job just isn’t worthy enough bc its not my passion. But you know what? I love stability. I love knowing I’m getting the sanme paycheck every month. I love not having to worry about paying my bills. If people can pursue their Passion and make tons of money, more power to them. But the world also needs people who will work 9 to 5

  • 2. Bernie  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    I agree with you 100%. Sometimes I think people forget that their lives are not their jobs; working enables you to have a life. Though I don’t think that people should stay in positions where they are miserable, I think that a job that is tolerable and somewhat engaging is a rarity in itself and people shouldn’t be in such a hurry to dump them for something else that looks greener from the other side of the fence.

  • 3. Juicer  |  March 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I’m with you. Who said we would only do the things we like and nothing else? There are a lot of things we all have to live through to get the good stuff. Sounds like you made it.

  • 4. Evy  |  March 23, 2012 at 11:33 PM

    I agree as well. I’ve been at my job for 20 years and while it is not my passion it is a very good and stable job. I have a nice low six-figure salary, I get 5 weeks of vacation a year. I get 13 sick days a year- and these can be carried over year to year(I currently have 5 months of sick leave accumulated) I can work at home 2-4 days a week. I get subsidies to take mass transportation. I have a great boss and wonderful co-workers. I can start my work day anytime from 6:30am-10:00am- no punching in or signing in. We get a small bonus each year based on our performance. The bonus usually works out to 1-2.5% of our salary with a combination of cash and/or extra time off. Unfortunately, we did not get a raise this year (or last). My work load is heavy but that’s okay. I like to keep busy.I don’t love my work but I don’t hate it either and it is not too stressful so why leave? I still get to pursue some of my passions -such as traveling, I feel fortunate to have this job. I t has been a blessing and hasmoved me from poverty into the middle class. One Frugal Girl: I have a question. I know about your home in DC and your vacation home in NC but can you tell us a little about your 3rd property? I may have missed it. Do you have it rented out? I purchased my first investment property last year in sin city.

  • 5. Cherleen @ yesiamcheap  |  March 24, 2012 at 5:40 AM

    My passion are writing and photography. However, when I was making a decision which course to take in college, my parents intervened by saying that there is no money in writing and arts, which made me decide to take an engineering course. Though I was able to finish it with flying colors, scholarships, and honors, I was not really happy and proud with my achievements. The same thing happened with my job. I jumped from one company to another. Now that I have a family and needed to stay home to look after my kids, I had the opportunity to pursue my passion for writing and earn good money at the same time. Not bad!

  • 6. Carnival of Personal Finance – Invest in Yourself  |  March 25, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    […] One Frugal Girl from One Frugal Girl presents A Round of Applause for Those Boring, Spiritually Unfulfilling Jobs. […]

  • 7. » Tuesday Night Link Love One Frugal Girl  |  March 27, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    […] should also check out the Carnival of Personal Finance. My post was included this […]

  • […] A Round of Applause for Those Boring, Spiritually Unfulfilling Jobs They often provide a valuable service and, if you’re astute, they can often be a springboard to something else for yourself. They’re only a dead end if you choose to allow them to be. (@ one frugal girl) […]

  • […] A Round of Applause for Those Boring, Spiritually Unfulfilling Jobs They often provide a valuable service and, if you’re astute, they can often be a springboard to something else for yourself. They’re only a dead end if you choose to allow them to be. (@ one frugal girl) […]

  • 10. getagrip  |  March 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    I feel passion is sometimes overrated and often overhyped. Everyone likes to hear that you can work at something you can love and make money so there are plenty of folks will to put out that kind of content. I feel that many people who claim to work only at their passion are not. Look at a blogger, maybe writing a blog is their passion, but there are plenty of other activities they’ll be the first to tell you they have to do to make a blog successful besides just putting out content that they don’t get a charge out of doing. So this idea they are working solely on their passion is not true, and I think this holds for many people and their jobs. The drudge work that goes into creating a finished product you can be proud of may be held together by passion for the finished product, but the drudge work often has to be done to get the finished product you are passionate about. Too many folks seem to think it’s all joy type work.

    • 11. One Frugal Girl  |  March 29, 2012 at 9:51 PM

      Excellent point! My husband was passionate about photography, but he spent twice as much time editing photos then he did shooting them. It also took quite a bit of time driving to and from various locations. I’m sure that’s the case for most people who pursue their passions. It can’t be all fun and games. Thanks for commenting.

  • 12. Annie  |  March 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I am comfortable at my job, but I don’t love it. The pay is good enough that I only need to work 4 days a week. So I can spend 3 days a week with my baby and pursuing my other hobbies.

    It would be really stressful to have a fulfilling job, but always stressing about money. If you are lucky enough to have a fulfilling job with a good paycheck, then good for you. But I think most people probably have a mundane, boring job. And if that is the case, it is better to have a mundane, boring, good paying job than a mundane boring, low paying job.

    • 13. One Frugal Girl  |  March 29, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      Isn’t that the truth. It’s certainly easier to look past the negative aspects of a job when you earn a hearty salary. For a low wage worker that would be much more difficult.

  • 14. Laura in Cancun  |  March 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    My current desk job is a far cry from spiritually fulfilling, but I love it! I live in a tourist destination, so most people here work weird hours. I have the privilege of working 9 – 5 and having weekends off, which allows me to do lots of things I love in my free time. (weekend trips, day at the beach, nights out, etc)

    The pay is also very good for my city. We’re saving up to buy our first property right now, so I use my “boring” job as a tool to do more of what I really want.

    It’s also not at all stressful, so I don’t ever find myself dreading to go into the office. I can go home at the end of the day and completely forget about work. Love it 🙂

    • 15. One Frugal Girl  |  March 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      A stress free job that pays well is even better! Especially one that never makes you work overtime.

  • 16. Mike  |  March 28, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Exactly what I needed today. Thank you.

    • 17. One Frugal Girl  |  March 29, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      Glad it helped you out.

  • […] A Round of Applause for Those Boring, Spiritually Unfulfilling Jobs They often provide a valuable service and, if you’re astute, they can often be a springboard to something else for yourself. They’re only a dead end if you choose to allow them to be. (@ one frugal girl) […]

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    […] frugal girl posted about people with boring jobs.  I’d have to say that she makes some good points – according to some, I have one of […]

  • 20. One Frugal Girl  |  March 29, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    I really appreciate all of the comments on this post! I’m glad to see that there are a lot of people out there who feel the same way about their jobs as I do.

  • 21. Jennifer  |  April 5, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    I agree with you. It doesn’t make sense for everyone to follow their passion in work. Sometimes the work allows for the person to follow their passions in other areas. I have a job that is perfect for me right now, but it requires very little brain power, no interaction with people and I am on the computer several hours a day. I sometimes think I should get a “career” of some sort rather than what I do now, but then I wouldn’t be able to set my own hours, be home for the kids, etc. So my piddly little job that doesn’t pay much works for me right now so I keep doing it.

  • 22. Alex  |  May 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    I am very bored at my job. I work at a large bank, make $300k, and work from home 3 days per week. The pay and flexibility is amazing, but the work is boring. How do you keep motivated in a job thats not thrilling??? You focus on other things i guess.


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