If you wouldn’t do your job for free, its ok to carry on doing it.

And have a peaceful mind and a happy life too

A while ago LifeHacker articulated this title for some article:

If You Wouldn’t Do Your Job For Free, Then Quit

Sure, it sounds good for a headline, but in reality this is a really bad advice.

Why? Well, consider the average person. Not only do they not allow themselves to be so independent because of family and other life-collected restraints but, even if they did allow it, i highly doubt you’ll get so many people who would:

  • take coal out of a mine for free,
  • be a cashier at the super market for free,
  • be a cleaning professional and wipe dirt all day long for free
  • or sew together 100 shoes per day for free.

This advice fits for probably less than a fifth of people, and this privileged group does creative, adrenaline rushed, high potential activities. But for the rest 80% or so who are stuck in a rut or have careers that involve very high responsibility or bad working conditions or very many years of study, and so on, there is no such concept of doing it for free.

Actually this kind of advice stems the “crap” that every freelancer of the world who “likes” their job has to put up with:

Q: Your work is so much fun why do you charge so much money?
A: Well, because money is so much fun too!

Its fun to program for example. But in this example a programming job not a hobby is not about the fun of spending 15 minutes hacking a neat program that beeps the speaker — it is about crawling endless files or spending 15 hours a day debugging your own stupidity. You must be out of your mind to do that for free, and yet i wouldn’t wouldn’t quit — the money is really nice and its a well balanced investment of my effort.

Takeaway for skimmers 😛

Along similar lines I liked a similar advice much, much better (cant find the source but it was a speech somewhere in Japan):

Find something that you like doing and keep doing it over and over. Eventually you will get so good at it that people will start paying you to do it.

This is a very good advice at any phase of life because it describes how the entrepreneurial spirit gets nurtured and how it can spawn life changing events no mater what your age or what your current social position currently is. And even more this advice doesn’t invite you to quit your job and give your spouse, your land lord and yourself many extra gray hairs.

Nevertheless just note that advices like these are all about this type of connecting your happiness with the world: happiness with work, happiness with love, happiness with the weather, happiness with the quality of your clothing or with the brand sewed on the inside. But happiness is only connected with you. Stop each day and consider what did you do which made you feel happy? … found nothing? Well definitely it is not because of your job, nor your significant other, nor the size of the TV or the rain outside.