'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Sunday, 14 June 2009

Making a living

There's often tension between doing what we want to do, and making your living.  My father solved this problem for all his working life by having a series of riveting hobbies to occupy his thoughts and intellect when he came home from his routine job.  However many of us have jobs so tiring and stressful that we have no energy for anything but blobbing out in the evening and weekends.  Books exhort us to 'follow your passion' from the start.  But this can be easier said than done.  When we are young our interests are just developing, so what is the thing you love to do, anyway?  And are you any good at it anyway?  Or expectations or children come along, making money a priority over everything else.  
Ideally of course, your job is your passion.  And, ideally you have the opportunity to develop this passion until
a. You are doing what you want
b. it comes easily to you and you find people saying "I so admire you, you make it look so easy."
c. people pay you for it.


  1. I would so like to get there.

  2. That's an interesting Venn Diagram. I find that the "What we want to do" circle can be expanded or shrunk somewhat by the attitude I take towards the work I do. Approached with interest and curiosity, many tasks become less onerous. Something as simple as breathing can be endlessly fascinating if you pay close attention to it.

  3. I know what you mean, Dan. I can even enjoy the system and sensations (especially on a cold evening) of doing the washing-up.

  4. You make a good point regarding the exhortation to 'Follow your bliss' as they say - you have importantly identified the problems in doing so - I think your fathers pragmatic approach is a good compromise in an imperfect world - but if you can swing it so that your livelihood is also your great passion and interest then 'Hooray' is the right word to use.

  5. Very thought provoking. One of the advantages I've found with age is that decisions become easier. I was one of the fortunate ones so far as my jobs were concerned. But it would have been so much better if we could live life in reverse so to speak. If we had the knowledge of old age when we were young what a difference it would make. But now I'm just being fanciful.