Monday, July 1, 2013

Is 'loving' your job overrated? Or even realistic?

Today begins my eighth week of employment at Vitamix (makers of the best darned blenders in the world, I'll have you know).

I'm at that stage at which everyone asks, "So, how do you like your new job?" To which I almost invariably reply, "I love it."

Which is true. Or at least it's true insofar as I really do enjoy working there.

But do I "love" it? I don't think so. "Love" is a very strong word. There is an extremely limited number of people and things in the world that I genuinely "love."

In that sense, then, I have never had a job that I loved.

Especially if, by "love," you mean that the job completes or defines me in some way. I don't want to be defined by my work.

The real question may actually be, "If financial circumstances didn't force you to work, would you still keep your job?"

And the answer to that, for me, is an emphatic "no." This is nothing at against the wonderful Vita-Mix Corp. (for some reason we add the hyphen when referring to the company's full, legal name). It's just that I've never had a job I would have done for free or if I had been independently wealthy.

Now, I don't claim that my experience and perspective are in any way universal. There are undoubtedly people who "love" their jobs by any definition of the word.

But what percentage of the population do they really comprise? 5%? 10%? 20%? I can't believe it's any more than that.

You hear all the time that if you love what you do, it will never seem like "work." And I have to tell you, my job at Vitamix is a great one. It's challenging, engaging, interesting, and ever-changing. And Vitamix itself is probably the best place I've ever worked in terms of benefits, recognition, interesting people, and adherence to goals and values in which I strongly believe.

But again, I "work" there. It's a job. And if I won $50 million in the lottery today, you can be sure I would turn in my notice tomorrow.

Do others not feel this way? I'm certainly willing to believe some don't, but that's my perspective.

I would be interested in hearing yours.

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