Do What You Love OR Love What You Do? What’s the Difference Really?

I’ve heard a lot of people for a long time saying “Follow your passion and find a way to profit from it”, and “Do you what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Lately I’ve been hearing and reading about an alternative perspective, and I have to say I think it makes more sense, to me anyway. The basic idea is that if you learn something, a skill let’s say, to the point of mastery, or at least proficiency, then you will develop a passion for it. Or at the very least a fondness of it.

This train of thought is much more logical to me, and it just generally appeals to a personal thought that I’ve had for a long time. That thought is that if I end up doing what I am passionate about for a living, it will turn into a job, something that I have to do. I came to this realization when I was going through Coast Guard basic training. When I first enlisted I wanted to become an AST, or what people commonly know as a Rescue Swimmer, because I have a passion for being active. So what the hell, why not get paid to stay in shape, right?

After several weeks of training and brutally regimented gym workouts (which were really dull by the way), I decided that I enjoyed working out and being active because I was able to do it how I wanted and when I wanted. Not only that but my career (and paycheck for that matter) hinged on a requirement that I did what I loved how someone else wanted me to do it. I doubt I need to tell you this but that did not sit well with me.

The point at which I decided I did not what to “do what I love and never work a day in my life”, I thought to myself, “hey, why don’t do something that isn’t going anywhere soon, something useful to people and in demand.” I just so happens that the job I decided to go for in the Coast Guard lines up pretty well with that one that I am pursuing as my civilian career. My job in the Coast Guard has me working with avionics systems and wiring. Honestly I thought I would be doing something a little more in depth when I signed up for that training, but it did show me that I was interested in doing more.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I jumped around a little bit before landing on becoming a developer. I think I have finally found something that I can have some middle ground with. Coding, programming, developing, engineering, whatever you want to call it, creating something that didn’t exist before through the use of technology certainly appeals to me. But it is also at a level where I feel that I can get good at it. Even though I have only begun to get comfortable with JavaScript, it is exciting. I feel that the better I get coding, the more I enjoy it. With proficiency comes enjoyment, not necessarily the other way around.

I’m not saying that you can’t make a living doing what you love, I’m just thinking that you don’t necessarily have to love it before you make money doing it. I don’t know about you, but I have played some video games that I absolutely sucked at (most of them actually). Games are supposed to be fun, but guess what, when you suck at something, it is no fun (I speak from more experience than I care to remember). I think that if you are able to put enough time into something to get good, and possibly really good at it,  you can develop a passion for it.

Clearly not a coding related photo but scenes like this are certainly a passion of mine, especially in these hot summer months (10/12) here in Florida. Oh how I miss winter.

I am really happy to be able to say that lately I have felt my passion for coding and creating growing. It probably helps that I also look at it as my ticket to the life I want for me and my family but it genuinely has become fun. There is just something about banging away at a keyboard and going to run the code after several failed attempts to take what is in your head and put it on the screen…then it just happens. You figured it out, you solved the puzzle, you created something.

I tend to sit back and admire this latest creation for a few moments before continuing on to polishing and reshaping this creation or moving on to the next. There is an inherent satisfaction in creation and in a job well done. Code is one of the many forms of art in my opinion, and I think that every artist likes to admire their own work once in a while. If not, then why do it in the first place.

~Until next time, Squatch out~


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