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Oh man, this one kills me. It’s so frequently repeated hardly anyone questions its truth anymore. And the sad fact is this: If you do something you love for a living, you’ll probably end up loving it a little bit less. Let me back up for a second: Yes, it’s a wonderful goal to strive for finding work you enjoy. In fact, it should be a goal for everyone. But this absurd axiom suggests you can simply take what you already love, turn it into something for which you get paid (meaning, you have clients and bosses and deadlines and obligations…) and it won’t ever feel like anything other than that thing you love. This is a blatant, hurtful lie far too many people fall for. And they end up feeling like something is wrong with them, when really something is wrong with the idea they’ve been sold. When something you love becomes work, it fundamentally—and unavoidably—changes the way in which you interact with it. Work IS NOT Play In his book, Hardcore Zen, author and Zen Buddhist Brad Werner says the following:


“…even the best job in the world [is] still just a job. Even Johnny Ramone said that being a rock and roll guitar player was a pretty good job, but that, in the end, it also sucked just like any other job.”
Yep. Ain’t that the truth? Work is called work because it’s not play. Once you depend on something to put food on your table, it becomes something different. It’s no longer “that thing you do for fun;" it’s “that thing you have to do for survival.” That doesn’t mean you won’t end up enjoying or maybe even loving the work you do. But it will also be work. You probably won’t mistake it for anything else. Once you take an activity you love (for me, writing) and start doing it for pay, you involve the opinions and needs of others. Writing for a living means I often have to set aside my personal artistic vision, and simply follow the instructions of my client. I sometimes call myself a “writer monkey” because I feel so caged in. I still write for myself, to explore my own ideas and personal style, and, on most days, I’d say I love the work I do…but these are two different things. The writing I do for work is not the writing I do for play. Work is MORE than the Work Instead of focusing on doing what you love so work won’t feel like “work”, take some time to figure out what work means to you. What do you want to get out of it mentally, physically, socially and spiritually? (Get my FREE mini-workbook if you need help with this.) Then, see how your talents match up with that. For example, if I happened to be the type of person who wanted a lot of social interaction at work, my career in writing (no matter how much I love the activity) would be quite a letdown. Work is about more than the thing you’re doing. It offers nourishment in a number of different ways. So, when you think about finding work you’ll enjoy (work that, hopefully, can be truly nourishing) think about the entire experience. It’s dangerous to suggest work can be anything other than work. Doing what you love can certainly make it a more enjoyable experience. But you’ll also experience a new side of that activity, and it won’t be comfortable. You’ll have to face the inescapable truth there’s no fooling yourself. Work isn’t the same as play, no matter how similar they might appear on the surface. I’m very lucky to do what I love for a living. But sometimes, I’m like the gourmet chef who lives off takeout and frozen meals. When you do an activity all day long and depend on it for survival, the playfulness can disappear quickly. Just like in a marriage, it sometimes takes effort to stay in love. At the end of the workday, I have to force myself to write for pleasure after I’ve been writing for eight hours already. Do I sound cynical? Perhaps a little. But too many people sit around convinced if only they could turn their NASCAR obsession into a full-time job, they’d finally be happy. I encourage you to take a deeper look at the things you love and what work means to you. There might be a happy intersection of the two, but don’t force it. [This article was originally posted on an earlier date] Chrissy Scivicque (pronounced “Civic”), founder of Eat Your Career, is an award-winning freelance writer/editor with a passion for two things: food and helping others. Please visit her website and download her FREE mini-workbook called, "How Nourishing is YOUR Career?" Read more » articles by this approved career expert | Click here » if you’re a career expert Photo credit: Shutterstock
Learn how to land a career you love


Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.


All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.

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