The "Do What You Love" Mentality

We’ve all heard this advice at least once: “do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Sounds pretty simple right? Create a job out of your life passions and you’re going to like going to work so much, that it won’t even feel like you’re working!

There is a reason why this proposition sounds so enticing. Usually, we want to escape work. We wait earnestly for the weekend each and every Monday. We have to recruit every ounce of motivation in us to return to work after vacation. We even call it "the grind". If we had a job that we were deeply passionate about we would be more than excited for Mondays, and our mental health would benefit too, right?

But don’t go quitting your job just yet. The do what you love (DWYL) mentality has been met with some criticisms, so it’s worth assessing it for ourselves. 

DWYL Criticisms

Consider the following critiques of DWYL:

  • "over-identifying with work can also produce existential anxiety after a bad day on the job, at times making the "do what you love" mentality burdensome" (The Takeaway, 2014).
  • it "has been co-opted by corporate interests, giving employers more power to exploit their workers" (Lam, 2015).
  • "it takes away from our ability to recognize the inherent dignity in the kind of work we can be tempted to deem unlovable, i.e. "repetitive, unintellectual, or undistinguished"" (Liquido, 2014).
  • "a passion people won't pay you for is hardly the basis for a career. It's a hobby. You can still love your hobbies--just love them in your spare time" (Haden, 2012).
  • "when you view your job as not just your meal ticket, but an extension of yourself—your baby, even— the ups and downs, rough days at the office or disruption on your path to success are devastating, and it makes it difficult to see the forest through the trees" (Boykin, 2015).

put your Health first

We talk a lot about job satisfaction and work life balance here at L&L. While we don't think staying at a job you absolutely detest more than anything is the right way to go, we can also understand that loving your job 100% is not always possible. Sometimes we might have to work at a job that we don't entirely love for a little while, only to get closer to our goal. However, this should never be done at the cost of your mental health. If your  job is causing you undue stress and negatively impacting your mental health, do not ignore it. Talk to someone: a coworker who cares, a counsellor, or a family member, so that you can evaluate whether your health is suffering from work and create an appropriate plan of action. 

What are your thoughts on DWYL? Do you feel that is necessary to love our work? Or do you thinks it's called work for a reason? Is it possible to create a successful career based on something you love? Share with us your thoughts on this career philosophy!


Boykin, M. (2015). Is Work/Life Balance Really Possible? How to Avoid Unhealthy Career Mantras. Retrieved from

Haden, J. (2012). Do what you love? Screw that. Retrieved from

Lam, B. (2015). Why "do what you love" is pernicious advice". Retrieved from

Liquido, K. (2014). Forget 'do what you love'—this mantra is better. Retrieved from

The Takeaway, (2014). Who really gets to do what they love? Retrieved from 

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