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"Do what you love" vs. "Do what you're good at"

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by ryalex, Feb 25, 2004.

?

What did you do/suggest to others for a career?

  1. Do what you love

  2. Do what you're good at

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Aug 6, 2003
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    Ryan Alexander
    People say to "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." But what if your interest and hobbies either can't make enough for your desired lifestyle, or don't match you're inherent skills and aptitudes?

    I'll give a personal example: I was an average art major but loved graphic design and typography, and excelled at my jobs doing that all through college.

    But I changed my major to Int'l Management and my grades shot up and I received certain scholarships and recognitions -- in particular for marketing, entrepreneurship and econ. From there I went to law school, and it feels right.

    I'm committed to law right now for the next phase of my life, but I still have thoughts about the road not taken. Law's more "what I'm good at" and what provides economic gain, versus what consumes my thoughts during hobby time or "me" time (ie. Ferraris, 'creative' things like art, design, film, media). But it seems that a career counselor would say I'm off. I'm at that phase of my life trying to decide whether to satisfy my heart or my mind and figure out how to do both.

    How have you found a balance in your life?

    The students of F-chat thank you for your sharing.
     
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  3. dherman76

    dherman76 Formula Junior
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    Feb 25, 2004
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    Darren Herman
    Very good question. Take out a sheet of looseleaf and write down what is important to you. Is it financial rewards? Is it location? Is it quality of life? Is it short working hours? Is it travel? There are tons of factors. Once you have these written out, then you can assess what you want to do - and moreover, what you want to get out of the job.

    If you can find a job that you LOVE, such as working with Ferraris, its not a 'job' - its a passion.

    For me, i tend to look at it this way, "If i can wake up each morning and not think about going to work, but going to do something i love...then i know i'm in the right career." for other people, such as a few of my friends, they are all in it for the money - and have very Wall St. type jobs - not saying that they dont love it, but numbers show that those types of jobs bring in a lot of financial rewards.

    just my .02 cents.
     
  4. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
    1,871
    Pensacola
    Ryan,
    I am in the same situation you are in minus the fact that I have fund my specific skill or talent. I'm one of those people that is fairly good at multiple things but I can't say I have a specific trade or skill that rises above anything else. Be glad that you have discovered law and I can tell you got the brains to definily shine with it. I'm interested to see the answers to this as well. I wish I had a dollar for everytime I scanned through Monser.com looking for that balance between a enjoyable job with a decent paycheck or the mind bending 70 hour a week forget life for good job.
     
  5. TimN88

    TimN88 F1 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2001
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    I think about this alot. I would guess that 1% (probbly less) of the people in this country wake up and actually look forward to going to work every day. In an ideal world, we would all like what we are good at, but we all know this is rarely the case.
    Recently, i thought i wanted to join the marines to fly. That seemed like something i would have loved to do and hopefully been good at, but i never would have gotten rich doing it (which wasnt important). It was going to be a tough decision whether to go that way or not, but now i dont have to make it since more likely than not, i will be medically disqualified (i have screws & plates in my arm as result of fracture) from joining.
    Darren brings up a good point- from what i gathered, he was trying to say "think about what you REALLY want to do in your job." Well for the marines, that would be helping people by protecting them. I still want to help peolpe, and fortunately for me the college i attend has approved bioengineering as a new minor for mechanical engineering students. Maybe one day i will help develop a way so people who break their arms and would otherwise have to get plates & screws installed wont have to. I dont know what to vote for this poll.
     
  6. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Ryan,

    I actually asked you this same question in your Maserati thread. I think you certainly have a knack for designing cars or other graphic level work.

    Sure your law career can give you the "500K" car we joked about earlier.
    (You don't need to buy a 500K car when you can design your own!! ;) ;) )

    Why don't you combine both? Can you some how incorporate a law career and be in house counsel for large design firm?

    Btw I am only 21, I don't know much about this stuff, so take it for what its worth.

    A college student's .02 pesos! (worth significantly less than 1000 Turkish Lira)
     
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  8. JaguarXJ6

    JaguarXJ6 F1 Veteran

    Feb 12, 2003
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    Sunny
    I'm lucky to do both, so I have never given this question much thought. I'm not big on materialistic items. Cars are more than transportation, but there are very few things in life that I feel the same way about, so I still consider myself a minimalist. I always do what I love, since I'm about to take another transfer within the company and lose a few grand a year to do so, but its furthering the career, the ultimate goal of achieving not only the most financial success but through the path of least resistance.

    Once its more than you depending on how you earn your living, its best to pick what your heart wants now and get good at it so your not making changes in the future.

    My 2 cents,

    Sunny
     
  9. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    Texas!
    I guess that you knew that this would draw me out, eh?

    For better or worse, here's my story -- When I was a teenager, I was passionately in love with motorcycles. I don't want to get too kinky here, but I probably liked bikes more than girls. Left alone, I would probably be a biker somewhere today.

    But in 1970, the year I graduated from high school, we had something called the draft, which meant that if you didn't have a student deferment, you were going in the Army. Somehow, I had kept my grades up in high school and was able to get into Florida State.

    There is no way that I can describe what life was like in Northern Florida during the early 70s in a short sound bite. Let's just say that life got very interesting and I forgot all about motorcycles.

    Then one morning it dawned on me and my good-time buddies that, if we kept this up, we were gonna graduate. Because most of my buddies had the stoke to go to law school, they all switched to government majors and starting making plans to go to UF.

    Me, well, life was very, very good in Tallahassee. My living expenses where about a $100 a month. Tuition was cheap. I had a sweet momma who knew how to take care of me. The bass fishing was the best in the country. Staying at FSU was a no brainer. Because the only major worth getting, outside of science, at FSU was accounting, I switched from anthropology to accounting. I didn't have a clue what accountants did. I just knew that I was tried of banging nails in the hot sun for a living.

    After graduating, I ended up going to work for the IRS in Houston, and I had a plan. I was going to stay one year and then transfer the heck outta Dodge.

    That was 27 years ago last month. Some plan, eh?

    Turns out that I enjoyed tax work and have a knack for it. I even ended up getting a PhD. And yes, it has paid the bills all these years. My FSU buddies who went to law school have made more than I have, but I wouldn't trade places with them for anything.

    What about my love of motocycles? I never lost it. In fact, a few years ago, I came this close to opening up a motorcycle dealership, which would have fullfilled a life-long dream. I didn't do it because I realized that doing so would have ruined a pefectly good obsession. That is, love and money rarely mix. I'd much rather go look at my paid-for bikes in my garage than have to worry about how I'm gonna meet my floor plan nut.

    I don't know if this answers your question, and I appreciate your patience if you have stayed this long. I truely believe that good things happen to good people, mainly because I don't want to believe the opposite. Ryan, in your case, going to Harvard Law is about as good as you can get. Maybe you'll never practice law. However, I suspect that Harvard will open doors for you that you never even knew existed.

    The best advice that I can give is to never grow up. There is always something right over the next mountain top. If I didn't have my dreams, it would be awfully hard to get up in the morning.

    Take Care, Dale
     
  10. LAfun2

    LAfun2 F1 Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
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    Dr. Tax,

    You as always give great advice and write posts that are not only educational and inspirational but great reads. I personally learn a lot from your posts.

    I was not aware of Ryan went to Harvard Law. All I got to say is WOW! :eek: :eek:
    Remember Ryan when I said 500K cars. Forget that, lets talk about Lear Jets now man!!!!!!
     
  11. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    It's 'Do what you love and the money will follow'
     
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  13. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
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    Neil
    I have been chasing money for 6 years now {I'm 22} and I have just about had it! I have been working in the media monitoring biz for only a couple of months but I will leave it very soon. I have to instruct or teach somthing. I can't take it any more, maybe I teach 16 year olds how to drive. We have a few local crappy tracks.... Maybe that can be my "hook" for the males? Anywho, whatever I teach, probably means much less money, so my cost of living will have to drop by about half. Either be happy and poor or wealthy and sad {for me at this point anyway}. I think few people get to do what they "love" and make tons of cash along with it. I haven't yet.
     
  14. PeterS

    PeterS Three Time F1 World Champ
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    62 250...My God, you are only 22! Chill out a bit! You stated "I think few people get to do what they "love" and make tons of cash along with it. I haven't yet." Most people I know that really do what they love are not rich by any means. Many are young pilots that don't make dick! They love flying. There are no young rich pilots, but there are not many poor old ones either. This is a common thread in many careers.

    You sound like you have a lot of energy. Take that energy and focus on what you really would like to do. You just may surprise yourself in a few short year! For now, just do that and enjoy your twenties at the same time ( I sure as hell did, and I'm not doing too bad at 44!).
     
  15. Greg G

    Greg G F1 Rookie

    Dale raises an excellent point here IMHO. I am a hobbyist at heart, but have often felt that if I used that passion to provide for the family, it would spoil the enjoyment. I hold a great job in the telecom industry - while I dont do backflips in my office. it does provide a great balance of wealth and family time. I doubt that I would still love cars and bikes as much if I relied on them to put food on the table. Perhaps this is just a flaw in my character.
     
  16. Evolved

    Evolved F1 Veteran

    Nov 5, 2003
    8,206
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I would recommend that you do what you are BEST at not what you are good at. There is a fundamental difference. Everyone, who is going to be a success must be a "good" writer, they must be reasonably "good" at basic mathmatics and be good at being on time and considerate of others.
     
  17. TSMIV

    TSMIV Formula Junior

    Jan 27, 2004
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    Robert Goodman
    Find the enjoyment in law. Find a specialty that works for you.

    Pursue your art at all possible times.

    Never leave an avenue unexplored because life is too short for haunted dreams.
     
  18. Uberpower

    Uberpower Formula Junior

    Feb 6, 2004
    902
    "Do what you love" vs. "Do what you're good at"

    This is a misnomer.

    If you do what you love long enough, you will become good at it.

    What are you using as calibration for your decision? Grades from school?

    Remember school teachers placed a dunce cap atop Einstein's head! Most cannot recognize genius, they only recognize commonality and reward it.

    Nick
     
  19. cabrio_fan

    cabrio_fan Formula Junior

    Mar 23, 2002
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    Michael Davidson
    I voted "do what you love" but that's because it's what I'll suggest to someone and not what I did myself. I'm changing that.

    I always excelled at computers in jr. high and high school and everyone I knew said it was so obvious that I was going to get a job in computers. I did. And now 12 years later -- I'm burned out and bummed out. I'm making decent money.... but the IT (infomation technology) industry has a way of taking some of the fun out of it. I'm in a corporate environment and I've thought about taking my skills solo but my skills don't really lend themselves to that. I'm an Oracle Database Administrator. I work on LARGE corporate databases. And since data tends to be near and dear to a corporation, they ~generally~ don't outsource database administration work to consultants/contractors so they can keep it more in-house.

    So, I've decided to examine opportunities outside of IT and outside of the large corporate environment. I'm planning to start my own business that follows my passion. (Sorry - I can't share it at this time. The biz plan isn't done yet.)

    I would wholeheartadly suggest to anyone whose at the crossroads to at least ~try~ following their passion first. When you're young and single, it's a lot easier to try these things and say, "Well... that didn't work -- what else can I try?"

    I'm one of those that got lucky. I didn't go to college and found that computers brought in the $$$$ without "having" to go college. Now, as I'm spreading my wings in other directions, I wish I had gone to college. I'm working on that as well. I'm considering the adult education college programs that are out there for working adults.

    Side note to my computer work in school I mentioned above. It was one of those activities that came very easy for me but it wasn't my passion. I could very easily have taken it or left it. I chose to take it based on the prompting of everyone I knew.

    My $.03. (An extra cent for going a little long.)

    Cheers-
    Mike
     
  20. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

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    I wish I knew what I wanted to do! I love driving but I'm 22 with no racing back ground so a career is out as well as teaching it. {Although I think I could with some training of my own, but that's a looooooong shot}. And the only thing else I can think of that involves driving and teaching is drivers ed. for whiny teenagers, {I kinda don't think telling someone "turning the steering wheel left will make the car go left" is what suits me either}.

    I don't mind sales at all, as long as I'm not pushing crap on someone who doesn't want/need it and who "knows my pitch". I know a guy who sells power tools, hand tools, machinery, hoists etc.... He loves as he has been around tools his whole life {he's 45 by now}. Maybe a pow wow with him could open me back up to a sales position. I dunno, this media monitoring thing now is draining the life out of me. A few days ago I hoped a snow plow would clip my car on the way to work just so I could be late. How's that for not liking your job?
     
  21. Mojo

    Mojo Formula 3

    Sep 24, 2002
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    O.K. Let me give you the answer your looking for.
    Stay in school, get your law degree, live like a student don't spend much, SAVE SAVE SAVE.
    When you have a few mill., which wont take long being a lawyer, then use your money for a modest home and nice car and live off the rest until you find a job being an artist or whatever, then continue to live the same modest life you have been living, you will be used to it, and the change wont matter. Then you are doing what you love.
    And if all else fails go back to being a lawyer.
    Problem solved. Unless you need lots of money always. Good luck.
     
  22. 62 250 GTO

    62 250 GTO F1 Veteran

    Jan 9, 2004
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  23. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Thx. I plead gulity to sometimes thinking out loud just a little too much. Because thoughts happen somewhat rarely now-a-days, I like to write them down before I, uh, well, before I, huh? What was I talking about?

    Take Care, DrTax
     
  24. GrigioGuy

    GrigioGuy Splenda Daddy
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    I don't know about that. The problem with doing what you love as a job is that it becomes a job, and (at least for me) that sucks all the joy out of it.

    I got really jazzed about computers when I was younger. I thought it was very cool that you could make these machines do what you wanted, and could get them to talk to each other, etc. I found I had a knack for it, so naturally I ended up in the field after blowing many many years in grad school.

    10 years later, I can't stand these things. I'm really good at what I do, and still love the problem solving, but I am completely burned out on computers and the field and no longer just play with the things.

    I fear that any hobby that I turn into a job will go the same way. I love fiddling with cars, and always have, but I couldn't see working on them all day. It would turn a relaxing activity into something goal-oriented and time-sensitive -- which to me is the exact opposite of a hobby.

    So, I do my job for money to support what I really like doing. I think that most people are the same way.

    Of course, probably none of this helps with your question :)
     
  25. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Thanks Tillman, Greg, DrTax, Mojo et al. I think you've all raised a good point: that working with your passions and interests can certainly spoil the fun of them. I agree.
     
  26. ryalex

    ryalex Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Well, two years later, this is what I've ended up doing: committing to entertainment law for the next while. I now have the photography as an outlet and a few other side creative projects for enrichment (and perhaps some potential commercial use).

    With one toddler now and another on the way, it is time to settle to something for a while.
     
  27. Murcielago03

    Murcielago03 Formula Junior

    Jul 5, 2004
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    According to Jim Collins, author of "Good To Great" and "Built to Last" use the hedgehog concept to answer the question.

    1. What can you be the best at?
    2. What are you passionate about?
    3. Does it make economic sense?

    If you can be the best at your core-business and are deeply passionate about it and it makes economical sense to do it...then your pretty much on your way to being a success and truly happy in your "career".
     
  28. branko

    branko F1 Rookie
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    Mar 17, 2003
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    I took the road less traveled and I'm glad I did. My first degree was in Business. But then I read a statistic that said 78% of the American work force are in jobs that they tolerate or dislike. So, I decided I did not want to be in that majority and I want back to school and got an MFA in Sculpture, struggled for a number of years but the psychic income kept me alive. I have been self-employed, making large scale sculpture for 23 years now. I love what I do and am proud of the legacy I am creating.
    On a side note, my brother went to Harvard and I used to visit him from time to time. One time, I met one of his friends who was in law school there. He and I became friends and we kept up with each other for a few years. He finished Harvard law but never became a lawyer, instead, he went back to doing what he enjoyed, painting houses. True story.
     

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