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Love what you do, not what you earn (kevinholler.com)
72 points by Kudos on Apr 4, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments

> I watched the clock carefully made sure I was out of there the minute my shift finished.

Fulfilling your contractual obligations is not a sign of a worker who is just "getting on by", it's a sign they have other interests or ventures outside of the workplace.

This is why our industry is so fucked up with this bullshit "doing overtime means you're COMMITTED" attitude.

I agree re: the attitude towards overtime. Especially if the overtime is not particularly productive. Or if you're working overtime because the "regular" time is not particularly productive. If I deliver a better product/serice in my regular hours than someone else who's working OT, it makes no sense for the person working OT to be viewed more favorably than I.

But I also agree that in any job, no matter how mundane, if you try to learn and improve, it makes the job infinitely more bearable - though I wouldn't go so far as to say you can always make it "fun".

You got caught up on one line in the article and completely missed the entire point.

The article is a lesson in self-empowerment. It contains the truth that what you're doing in your employment can be even more for yourself than your employer if you adopt the necessary atitude.

He didn't say anything about not having other interests or ventures. You put that in there because of your preconceptions.

Not really. He walked into a job he didn't like and said "i'm going to start to like this". When is that going to happen?

If you adopt the necessary attitude of going above and beyond for your employer it will help you out? I've found that to not be true in most cases.

When is that going to happen?

Learning that atitude was something I at least partly could control in my life was very important in my overall personal development.

going above and beyond for your employer it will help you out?

Yes. You learn your limits. You make time go by more quickly by being an active participant. You develop disciplines that can help you out in many contexts. You keep your mind active by DOING things rather than just watching the clock waiting for your shift to end. You make yourself more valued which can help you get that pay raise or promotion. You establish a reputation for being solid, which makes your future job searches a hell of a lot easier.

Look, you're going to be working your job anyway. You might as well do it well, make the time go by quickly, and help yourself along the way.

Well I still disagree with the premise. In my experience going above and beyond gets you nothing but more work.

If you are doing 40 hours in a lot of places it means you slack. I also see recommendation on HN for things like "if your company is switching to a framework you don't know you should spend nights and weekends studying it". How about no? Each hour I spend the less money I make for my time. I have other things I like in life and work serves to allow me to do those.

How about both?

Work takes up a huge portion of your life and if you can bring interest and personal growth to your job then your whole life experience will be better.

BUT money is what makes life flow outside of work. This quotation from the end is certainly true - ”If you’re doing it for the money, you’ll always be underpaid” - Scott Bell

I just don't think it's a bad thing to want to be paid more and to be finding ways to achieve that :)

Agreed - you can definitely want to be paid more, especially if you are working above and beyond the call of duty.

The key thing, I think, is to strike a balance. And I know it's often overused but [Maslow's hierarchy of needs](http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nBko7m9CLQI/UKWSkHf-JwI/AAAAAAAAA8...) is pretty spot-on here. Once you've got to a certain level of pay, where you're making good enough money to get the things you need to survive comfortable (Safety + Security), enjoying the job takes more priority.

If you're being paid so poorly that you can't even survive, enjoying what you do isn't sustainable. But enjoying what you do might lead to better pay, for sure :)

I used this for my sig for long time "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." Confucius I didn't work since :-)

I completely agree. Money is still very important and should also be a priority. If you are adding a lot of value to the company you work for then you should be paid accordingly and rewarded for your efforts.

My point here was that if you're focusing more on what you do and less on what you're being paid, then the latter should become a much easier thing to achieve.

I feel you must have both. You can love what you do, but pay validates that your work is loved by others too. Without that validation you start to get down on what you are doing and start to hate it yourself. What is the point in working on something you love if everyone else hates it?

Absolutely. But if you ever work for a non-profit - which I did in a previous life - you will definitely have to focus on "loving what you do" - and loving the missio of the non-profit - because you will die a thousand deaths every time you think of your salary.

Even in nonprofits, salary is highly idiosyncratic. There are plenty of nonprofits with very well-paid employees and, in particular, executives.

If you love what you do and not what you earn, someone else will make sure to pocket the difference.

And sometimes, it's you pocketing the difference, because you're essentially paying a premium for your own happiness. Seems fair, actually.

I don't think it's unreasonable to both enjoy what you do and not undersell yourself.

That being said, there may be situations where you accept less money for something you enjoy more, because the satisfaction is worth it, but this isn't the same as underselling yourself.


I used to work at an organization that paid conspicuously less than local market value for comparably experienced developers.

The work environment, however, was a really pleasant one to work in. There were quarterly and annual company-wide events, such as going to local sporting events, scavenger hunts, Christmas dinners at fancy restaurants, and the like.

My boss was great and took an active interest in developing the skills of his team, and successfully tanked upper management, leaving us free to develop in peace. All the developers ate together in our own break room, usually over board games. There was a sense of camaraderie on our team you don't just find everywhere.

I loved working there; though I didn't want to, I ultimately had to leave when I started a family, got a house, and my expenses outpaced my income.

Perhaps I should have left sooner. Perhaps I was unwittingly underselling myself. However, I prefer to think of all of the above I mentioned as "non-cash" compensation.

That all depends on how smart you are. If you're going to let people take advantage of that than it's not a very wise strategy.

I wrote about this 2 years ago [0]. In my opinion, it's a choice between doing the things you already love, and loving the things you do.

Earning money is something you do. You may eventually fall in love with what you do (as I have, and has Kevin), but many people don't. Ever. And it's not for the lack of trying either. Some people simply can't grok certain things.

So the other option is to do the things that you love. But those things may not pay well. And so people are left with the original dilemma that Kevin posted. I have mulled about this, and came to the conclusion that I was merely very lucky that I had a job that I love.

[0] http://blog.chewxy.com/2011/11/14/what-you-love-what-you-are...

Thanks for sharing. Personally, I am of the philosophy "doing what you love" rather than "loving what you do" (a subtle difference). However, "loving what you do" is still better than "loving what you earn".

Agreed. But in the same sense, if you love what you do you are doing what you love.

Yup, but the vice-versa is not true i.e. if you love what you do, you may not be doing what you love. It is more out of force than volition.

Meh, easy to write blog posts like that if you are working at EngineYard and presumably earning quite healthily.

The point of the post is his attitude change that occurred while he was working at the pub, and presumably earning little more than minimum wage.

Exactly. When I first started there I was earning a "training" wage. As someone under the age 16 I started out earning roughly €6.00 an hour.

After that I progressed to minimum wage(€8.65) and before I left I was earning €10 an hour.

Where is this if you don't mind me asking? 8.65 EUR minimum wage is great. Minimum wage is is close to 3 EUR.

This is Ireland. More information here: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/employment/employment_r...

Worth pulling out the Stack Overflow survey analysis. Looks like Stat Wing found a weak, but statistically significant relationship between compensation and job satisfaction for what it's worth. https://www.statwing.com/demos/dev-survey#workspaces/2496

That's easy to say when you make more than 1000 (one thousand) euros a month like I do..

Do whatever you're good at that you get paid well to do. Learn to love this job. When you have a mortgage to pay and a family to feed, money trumps love EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Funny, that title is exactly how I'd describe my current job.

Haven't we had this debate on HN once or twice before? ;)

What blogging software are you using on your blog?

I built the blog using jekyll, a static site generator. (http://jekyllrb.com/)

Still working on improving it but it's allowed me to dynamically generate tag and category pages as well as a few other neat things. That and it's seriously lightweight.

Is there a python equivalent of jekyll?

If it's any consolation, you wouldn't have to write any Ruby code with Jekyll. You'd only write HTML templates, Markdown/Textile, and a sprinkle of YAML.

I'd check out Pelican - http://docs.getpelican.com/en/3.1.1/

Cool. I also love the theme.

Thanks. I wanted to design something very minimal and content focused. Still a work in progress but it's getting there.

I like this story because it does not end with some explicit or implied "and then I hit it big time (as a reward for my love)" as if loving what you do and sticking with it is some sort of super-secret method for guaranteed success. OP made it work for him in the present and enriched his life by doing so, it seems it even paid off later too. Great! His "win" was right there. There are a lot of ways to be successful and loving what you do can certainly help but it won't give you much of an edge on folks who are "just" doing an outstanding job for the money. The most perfectly and enthusiastic and welcoming bar can go belly-up for no reason but people's taste suddenly changed or the financial crisis hits hard and nobody has money to go out anymore.

If you are radically doing what you love for the love of doing it and you laugh about money, good for you. But don't blindly hope or subconsciously count on some miracle future success just because you loved your work so much. The people who completely bombed doing what they love(d) hardly ever share their crushing stories.

You cannot control all the things that can greatly influence your success and loving what you do won't shield you against it either. Keep that in mind. Get something out of it now, always get some sort of return for yourself and NOW, if that is "just" money and you consciously made that decision then that is ok. If it means really good connections and a technological playground you love playing/working in, then that is also ok. If it is a great opportunity to learn and grow it into a career even if the pay is horrible, well that is ok too. There are industries where this is pretty-much the norm and if you ever want to be anybody in those industries, you got to pay your dues. Luckily in IT, you are mostly shielded from that and can always expect at least not half bad compensation, given you can sit in a comfy and cool office and hit a few keys and get the chance to do 99% of your clicks over if you screwed up.

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