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Someone has probably shared this tip with you at some point during your life. Don’t do a job you hate, and follow your passion. This is both right and wrong, as it addresses a critical point that you should never do something you hate, but misleads you into thinking there is necessarily a correlation between your hobby and your job.

I was talking to my friend SL, who loves philosophy. But he would never consider becoming a philosopher. Not because a philosopher doesn’t make money (he personally wants to be an economic grad student in the short-term, which doesn’t make that much money either), but because it isn’t something he would do as a job.

Something I find most cpeople don’t realize is the distinction between “what they love”, and “what they want to do as a job.” This isn’t a proposal that you should blindly develop a career in finance, and ignore what you truly love, but to simply recognize this distinction.

This distinction is very simple: you like to do what you “have the most fun doing”, while you want to find a job where “you want to perfect an art.” Using myself as an example, I have the “most fun” playing video games, but I want to “perfect the art” financial analysis. I spend a lot of my free time playing video games because they make me happy, but I find because it is what I do to relax, I never bother perfecting the art of gaming, and not bother that much about errors when I play. However, when I do financial analysis, I don’t always have fun. However, I gain satisfaction as I rise in what I’m able to do in terms of analyzing more and more complicated problems. Hence, even though I’m not always having fun, the strive for excellence makes it a good career choice for me.

Sure, some people “have the most fun doing” the same thing they “want to perfect as an art”, but do recognize most of us aren’t this way. Recognizing this fact will ensure that 10 years down the road, you are actually doing a job you can progress in, and not just something you love to kill time with. By realizing exactly what these two components of your life are, you can hopefully reach a better work-life balance.