Well, it pays the bills, doesn’t it

I hate that phrase. I hate what it stands for: giving up, letting go of dreams, accepting the general opinion in society that a job’s a job and who is anyone to look for something more meaningful.

Of course temporarily it can be true and necessary, but if you’ve been using that phrase for more than 6 months I’d say you need to seriously consider how you’re spending your time. Life IS short – it’s a total cliché but completely true. I understand that not everyone has the luxury of spending time and thought finding work that they enjoy, but I feel that those of us who do owe it everyone else to take advantage of this luxury.

I don’t hate my job. It does pay the bills but that’s not why I’m doing it (I realise I’m extremely lucky that I don’t have to worry too much about money at this point in my life, but I’m not a big spender and really do believe we could all live happily on a lot less money than we think we need). I’m doing it because it relates to my interests and because it’s really good experience. My colleagues are also far from hating their jobs and it’s really not a bad place to work. It’s nowhere near perfect but it does a heck of a lot more than just pay the bills.

Part of my work involves hearing from others who are passionate about what they do, and it’s really inspiring. It makes me want to work hard to find something that I really love. It shows that there are lots of people out there who genuinely have found work that they love to do – and these people aren’t doing extraordinary jobs. While one person’s perfect career may be as a doctor, someone else could be just as happy as a researcher in a lab, a teacher, engineer or hairdresser. One person’s dream job is another person’s nightmare, and it’s worth remembering that.

thethoughtstevejobs– – –

Because I love quotes, and because these are some great and important ones from a man who was both highly successful and also very happy in his career and life, I want to leave you with these from Steve Jobs:

Find what you love; don’t settle

Remember you are going to die

Follow your heart and intuition – they somehow know what you want to become

Stay hungry, stay foolish

– – –

I don’t want to do something that simply pays the bills, that’s ‘good enough’, that’s expected or respectable. I want to do something because I love it, and because I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

That’s got to be worth searching for, however long it takes.

10 comments on “Well, it pays the bills, doesn’t it

  1. Great reminder! I am currently working an “it pays the bills” job. Student loans plus one year of unemployment makes this job a necessity. But I’m still applying for jobs that actually sound interesting to me, even if that means my salary would be lower. The problem with having a job that just pays the bills is that it leaves you unfulfilled. I’ve learned that I’d rather be making less money if it means doing something that actually makes me happy.

    • I completely understand your situation, and it sounds like you definitely aren’t just settling for your ‘it pays the bills’ job. That’s the main thing I think, just to keep searching. I’ve got a fair bit of student debt myself and so I should probably be thinking a lot more about money than I am. It just doesn’t motivate me, you’re totally right that fulfillment and happiness are the most important things.

      Good luck with the job applications, I’m also applying for other jobs that sound like a better fit for me than my current one. I really hope you find something fulfilling to get you out of your ‘it pays the bills’ job soon!

  2. INFJoe says:

    Great post and great quotes I believe in.

  3. I completely agree that we can usually live on less money than we think we need. We certainly have to cover our expenses – including outrageous student loans, as Lauren points out above – but I find that my students often have unrealistic notions of how much they need beyond that. Sure, if you want to go out to dinner every night and buy designer-label clothes, you’ll need a good-paying job. If on the other hand you want to be able to fall asleep at night content that you’re doing the work you’re meant to do, then not so much.

    Keep up the good fight!

    • I think you’re right that it comes down to expectations, and also how much you’re used to having and spending. I remember you mentioning in a previous comment that’s it’s important to avoid getting stuck in an unfulfilling job just because it pays enough to fund a certain kind of lifestyle, and that’s definitely worth remembering – though there’s little risk of that with my current salary!

  4. Dang, my eyes jumped right to that title. It’s terrifying. I want more too! Thanks for the awesome post. :)

  5. I came across this article on The Onion last night – thought of it while I was reading this post: http://www.theonion.com/articles/find-the-thing-youre-most-passionate-about-then-do,31742/

    It’s a tricky balance, isn’t it?

    • Great article, somehow I didn’t immediately realise that the author is being sarcastic, but it does make you think! It is a balance – I’m not suggesting people should refuse to work ‘it pays the bills’ jobs, just that I think it’s important to keep looking for a job that’s more than that. I guess I’m pretty lucky in my current situation – I have a job that does more than just pay the bills and I can continue trying to figure out what I really want to do.

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