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I saw this delightful print over at Why Girls Are Weird and am borrowing it for today’s post from Krysten. (Thanks, Lady.)

I’ve been thinking about the topic a lot lately. I left the newspaper industry in April for my current job, in marketing at a local college. And the differences between the two gigs has struck me in a way that makes me think college me would punch me in the face — but I’m happier now, career-wise, than I’ve been in a long time.

I had passion for the work I did at the newspaper. I got to go to people’s houses and have them confide in me. I told stories for a living, helping people heal or get the word out. I:

  • Attended a graveside birthday celebration for a girl who should have been four that day, who had died for a rare chromosomal disorder less than a year ago.
  • Told the story of a girl who raised money by selling dolphin sun catchers for $1 a pop so she could send her entire family to Florida. Her older brother is developmentally disabled, and swimming with dolphins is said to be a wonderful therapy for his  disorder. She raised $15,000. When I talked to the family in January, there was $300 in the bank. They went to Florida last month.
  • Met a World War II veteran, and he told me about his time in Japan, showing me his handwritten memoir on ripped-out notebook pages that had just been turned into a self-published book, with the help of a local writer.
  • Talked to grieving parents whose daughter had been killed the year before in an ATV accident. They gave me a key chain with their daughter’s beautiful face, and on the back were life lessons she had written about in her journal that her dad found one day, sitting on her bed missing her.

Telling these stories is beautiful. I was good at it, good at talking to people and writing their stories, and I miss it every day.

But I don’t miss anything else about that job. The industry is dying (you don’t need me to tell you that), and I realized years ago that it is important to me to love my LIFE, not my JOB. I was sick of instability, the lack of a raise in five years, the utter repression of creativity. (You’d think a newspaper could be a mecca of creativity. Alas, it was more of a “do as you’re told, and don’t try new things” kind of atmosphere.)

So I found a job I like but am not passionate about. I work longer hours and am much sleepier when I get to work, but I still look forward to my office. I enjoy my coworkers and might have the greatest boss that ever bossed. The work isn’t as exciting, but the details about the job are infinitely superior.

The reason college me would punch now me in the face? College me thought the work was everything, that I’d be a sell-out for trading a love-job for a like-job and her very own office. But college me didn’t know I’d marry a man who’s way better than a job and become infinitely more important than said job. College me had the wanderlust bug, but not like now me, and the idea of having benefits that give me awesome vacation time and a salary that can better afford to feed the wanderlust bug is a good idea indeed.

I feel both free and happy here. I like what I do. I may not love it, but I think that’s OK. This is my job, not my life, and that’s how I want it to be.

I’m curious how many people out there are passionate about their jobs. Would you sacrifice a love job for a like job?

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