In the early fifties, when I was seriously preparing for a career, only the most outrageously bohemian types would propose a career of doing what they loved. That was the heyday of the Organization Man, with all of the lockstep mindset of that era. As I recall, even the music was quite unreal and non-confrontational. (Slow Boat to China, Paper Doll)
Then, of course, came the age of Aquarius where doing whatever you fancied was more in vogue. For a brief time it seemed that all of the old strictures loosened up a little, aided in part by various chemical substances.
Doing what you loved appealed greatly, but those that led the charge into non-conformity often paid a heavy price. Even so, more people seemed to look within for answers instead of to other people and to value spirituality over money and possessions. There were people I knew who took the road less traveled, but they were still a tiny minority.
The rebound from that indulgence brought us once again into an era of uptight, hard driving 24 x 7 career activity. In the last twenty years, this activity has risen to a fever pitch. I saw it first-hand in Silicon Valley, but it was happening all over the world. Work itself became that which was loved most because it offered thrills, excitement and the possibility of making incredible amounts of money. Who needed anything else?
Family time became less important than doing business. After a while, the strain began to tell on many of my friends. They would guardedly mention the idea of bailing out and starting a business of their own or buying a winery. However, few of them did. The lure of big money held them in stressful jobs that were slowly killing them.
An interesting shakeup occurred when the internet bubble deflated. Many technical people were thrown out into a marketplace that no longer wanted them. A lot of soul searching took place and some decided to strike off in other directions. Those that took jobs to eat are eating. Those that started doing what they love seem to be living on a higher plane.
There are also those who have a job that pays the bills and MAKE TIME to do what they love! These people may be the happiest of all. They have to work harder than most, but they can have the best of both worlds. I have done that occasionally. My children seem to be doing the same with no direction from me.
The bluegrass musicians you see at the top of this post do what they love and it shows. They call themselves Greenhouse and they have day jobs at Washington and Lee University. On this weekend. they were having a great time and lifted the spirits of all within earshot.
(Many thanks to “Burr” Datz for helping me get the name of the band right.)