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Anomalizer's Journal
Unintended consequences
Making a live of what you enjoy 
30th-Mar-2010 12:26 am
Philosophical
There is this over simplified belief that if you do (as a profession) what you love, then it will stop appearing like work. While it is true at certain level, the fine print is certainly missing.

Let us say you really love cooking but you do international taxation for a living and you have little or no interest in anything to do with juggling around legalese and maths. If your life were compared to someone who loves fixing television sets and is fixing home theatre systems for a living, surely you would be inclined to believe that the second person has a much better job. So where is the fine print you ask.

The answer lies in the timing. Fun is when you get to do what you want, when you want and more importantly not having to do it when you don't want to do it.

Let us say you like saving lives and hence ended up becoming a surgeon of sorts. After weeks of hard work, you decide to unwind and go on a classy dinner with that special someone. And even before your soup arrives, in the most predictable cinematic way, you get a call saying it is an emergency and that you are needed. Clichéd as it is, and noble as it sounds, it is a horrible feeling to be in that position. Now let us make it sound less justified by saying that it was a case of someone's broken television set. It happens to be a part of some surveillance set up of a museum but at the end of the day it is a television meant to protect some high valued painting from the middle ages. To the people concerned, ensuring that the painting remains safe is of paramount importance and will make it appear so to you if you are in the TV fixing business.

Now you might start drawing conclusions that I am veering towards jobs where you are expected to be available past regular work hours for some emergency regardless of how convoluted the emergency is. Let us say, you are in a situation where no such thing exists. One fine day you get temporarily bored of what you are doing and need to take a break; a break that might be 6 months long, maybe 1 year. The brick wall that you will most probably run into what happens when you are ready to come back. The problem with a profession like being a F1 racing driver as opposed to a painter is that you cannot leave at will and assume you will be able to resume whenever you want to.

So fact of the matter is that the moment you tie your fun activity to a profession, you now have to deal with the hazards that profession of doing what you enjoy brings in. I think a profession that you might find as the most desirable one need not be the activity that you enjoy doing a lot in a non professional fashion. This seemingly obvious fact is underrated and certainly overlooked by a lot of passionate people. I think that once this realization dawns upon an individual, we must re look to see if we are willing to embrace our choice with the knowledge of burden that it comes along with. Chances are inertia will make you believe all is well.
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