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?