Passion and Career

— Work that pays

My husband spent weeks reading about smoking meat. Finally he decided to do it. He read a recipe over and over, got the charcoal, wood chips, thermometer, mixed the spices and after monitoring the meat for 6 hours–the best ribs he’s ever had.

bbq ribs

I sent a photo of the ribs to my dad and he was just as amazed. Earlier this week I had sent photos of my sourdough bread. My dad suggested that if we like food so much, perhaps we should start a restaurant.

For the first time, that didn’t make sense.

If there was a cent involved in sourdough making–I’d never have made any bread. I don’t think my husband would make ribs if he were paid anything more than $0. Somehow money has a way of devaluing these activities to less than worthy of our time.

How is that?

If I hiked up a mountain and then someone paid me for my work in exchange to see the view from the top, I wouldn’t have started hiking in the first place. There are so many quotes that suggest that “the journey is more important than the destination.” If that destination morphed into an all redeemable gift card–there’d be no journey.

Why did it take so long to understand this? That the destination, the rewards it provides, the shape it takes, is the very reason we go on a specific journey.

Ever since I was young I wanted to make my passion my career. As a millennial, I hold the common belief that I can get paid to do what I want.

But the things I love doing… That absolutely requires that I make no money from it. The passion comes from lack of reward in the form of money.

Instead, these activities provide rewards that money can’t buy.

A fresh loaf of sourdough in my kitchen–that can be bought if you procure the right baker and have them drive over and bake it for you–but the sense of satisfaction after toiling a year to understand how sourdough works and after hours of turning the dough over–that cannot be bought.

Beyond that, the food we’re making is better than anything that’s available for sale. We’d have to find someone to make it the way we want. Imagine the interviewing required to make the bread and ribs.

Of course money is important. After all, it’s needed to buy me a boat. But I do need confidence and sense of accomplishment in order to live. Perhaps it’s a weakness, but as a human I need to be paid in these feelings in order to find life worth living.

On the other hand, there are things I’d do only if I were paid. An activity like folding napkins would be fun to do once in a while. But I’d never have an opportunity to do something like that unless money were involved.

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