I was reading an article today about formers Steelers coach (and current CBS broadcaster) Bill Cowher. The article mentioned that some thought Bill Cowher left the Steelers in 2006 because he knew he’d never make the kind of money that other coaches were making. The assumption was that if he returned to the NFL to coach, he would go to a top-market team, make a bunch of money, and then retire for good.
However, it is now being said that may not be the case, and that if Cowher does return, it will, in fact, be to coach a team he thinks can win the Super Bowl, regardless of how much he’s paid.
This got me thinking about my career choices and wondering about all of yours. I hate to say this because it kills me that it’s the truth, but here goes nothing: I’ve never had a job I loved or that left me feeling wholly satisfied.
Luckily, I’ve also only had a few jobs I really hated or left me feeling totally empty, but still. Not exactly how a girl (woman, even!) wants to feel about her career. But that's my fault, right? The jobs I take are up to me? What I do for a living, that’s totally my choice, isn’t it? I mean...sure, kind of. But, yeah, actually: not really.
There are a lot of jobs I'd love to have. I think it’d be awesome to be a best-selling author, but I can’t just make that happen. (I could definitely try harder, but that’s another post for another time.) Being the color commentator for football games sounds amazing, but they only hire dudes and also, sadly, I have a voice that makes dogs come running from seven states away. I’d also love to be the princess of anywhere, but as much as I check Monster.com, I’ve never seen a single opening. (What? Being a princess is totally a job; I saw “The Princess Diaries.” I would know.)
And so until one of those things happen (read: never), I will continue to take jobs that neither make me a better person nor fulfill me. I will take jobs that I am qualified for and that I can do well and I will do that because those jobs pay me. And a paycheck is what allows me to pay my bills and also (this is key) have a satisfying life outside of the workforce.
But what if a job came along that I would love love love love love (that’s what they teach you in grad school: use the same word 17x in a row for emphasis!), but that paid next-to-nothing? Would I take that job? Would I give up financial security for job satisfaction and professional fulfillment?
I don’t know. I want to say yes, but…I really like football games and fancy dinners and ski houses. I get that I sound spoiled, but I work hard so that I can be spoiled. And the only person spoiling me is...well: me. Would loving my job make up for not being able to afford those luxuries? I don’t know. If I were getting paid to write about the things I wanted to write: maybe?
(For the record, this post is not referring to xoJane, which is a small freelance job that I fully enjoy as a complement to my other jobs; I’m actually a contract employee and I work at a lot of places, mostly doing writing stuff, but not like FUN writing stuff.)
It’s hard once you get to a place in your life where you can finally have “nice things” to think about giving those things up. And for me, it’s not things as much as it is experiences. Fine, experiences and boots. But are nice things enough? Without professional success, can I have personal satisfaction? I don’t know -- that’s why I’m asking you!
Bill Cowher is lucky in that he’s an amazingly talented coach who loves to do just that. Even if he goes to a team that can’t afford to pay him as much as the top-tier teams, he’ll still be making a boatload of money. AND he’ll love what he does. He can have his cake and eat it too because when he runs out of cake, he can just buy more. (That’s how that works, right?)
But most of us don’t have that luxury. We can do what we love or we can do what we get hired to do. And usually, they aren’t the same thing. Which, for most of us is fine. But also, now that I think about it, pretty depressing.
So what about you? What do you wish you did for a living? What would you give up to have that dream come true? And if you’re lucky enough to love your job, do you have any advice for the rest of us? Clearly we (and by “we,” I mean “I”) need it.
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