Paul Jarvis is a Web designer and bestselling author. His upcoming book, The Good Creative, outlines the 18 habits of the world’s most respected artists.


“If we believe that personal fulfillment is really the ultimate purpose of labour, then who do we expect to do all the other jobs that are not so existentially fulfilling?” -Mika Tokumsitu

Even as someone who works for myself and makes a living off of creativity, it’s not always fun. I’m not like those photos you see from Google image searches of people who work from home, stretching out while letting the rays of sunshine wash over my face.

Most days, I bust my ass designing websites that require lots of rounds of revisions with clients, and we may not see eye-to-eye. Or publication editors ask for revisions I don’t always agree with.

I butt heads with people that pay me, and some days I wouldn’t work if I didn’t have to. I sometimes miss out on doing things I want to do because I have to work. And I have it so easy (because I work for myself doing something I mostly enjoy) that I don’t even have the right to complain.

While I love doing what I do, it’s still work. I still get up at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. everyday and sit down and work for most of the day. I don’t wait to be inspired because it’s a job. And I stop when the work is finished.

I’m lucky to have this life, which is afforded to me because I live in the first-world and grew up middle class. I don’t have to stress about how I’ll pay rent, afford health-care or wonder when we’ll be able to buy groceries next. I completely see the hypocrisy and classist edification of me even talking about this subject.

But if everyone’s job was simply to “do what they love,” who would collect garbage, work as a cashier, do data-entry or any other job that doesn’t seem as soul fulfilling? Those aren’t even lesser jobs either, they’re just jobs.

The reality of jobs

Doing what you love for a job is awesome, but not mandatory or valued above anything else.

I’ve never understood why so many people are so concerned with only doing a job that makes them happy – as if anything else wasn’t worth doing.

Find a job that you don’t have to worry about when you’re not doing it – or a job that doesn’t make you miserable every single day. You’ll still be far better off than a lot of folks.

As I enjoy telling my wife, work is called “work” and not “super happy fun time” because often it’s just tasks that need to be done. It doesn’t mean your life is less meaningful just because your job lacks existential value.

You aren’t your job. It doesn’t have to define you unless you let it. Plus, you can always do what you love in your spare time.

“Doing what you love” doesn’t have to mean a job. It can be a hobby, a passion or even simply spending time with the people you that you love the most. If you like something enough, you’ll find time to make it happen.