Is the Work You Do Your Drug?

By Daniel Jones | November 10th, 2015

If we have to work several hours a day for the rest of our lives, we should at least really get a kick out of what we’re doing.

We get so wrapped up in the day-to-day routine that many of us hardly take a step back and evaluate our lives. (Some prefer it that way.)

Maybe I evaluate my life too much, but as a young adult on the cusp of 30, I think about my future all the time – most every day. I try to imagine my ideal life, the perfect balance in my bank account, and of course the ideal job.

I can’t help it. I meet and read about people each week who have pursued their dreams, who have relied on talent, hard work, courage and foresight to create their ideal life. And it’s motivating, to say the least.

But unfortunately I also see too many folks not enjoying the work they do, and let’s face it: most of us spend a good portion of our lives working and trying to build a pleasant, comfortable life for ourselves and for our families.

Then why do we spend so much time doing the type of work we don’t even enjoy?

Yes, we have to pay the bills and put food on the table, of course, but a lot of people’s jobs make them absolutely miserable. It’s not hard to discern.

But how do we go about combatting this?

I think the toughest part is asking ourselves the important questions, and then being completely honest in giving our answers: What makes you come alive? What kind of work do you love doing the most? What makes you buzz – or what kind of work would make you excited to get up in the morning and go to work? What kind of work would you do and be fine with not getting paid for that would make you feel more fulfilled in life?

There is a woman at our office who comes to mind when I ask myself these questions. I won’t mention her name. Let’s call her “Joann.”

When the rest of us are worn down from the Moody Monday Syndrome, Joann is buzzing with energy and optimism. You get the sense she loves her job – I mean really LOVES what she does. It’s like her coming to work each morning is literally her fix. (She is in sales and marketing.) And Joann’s not even a coffee drinker. Her job at Ross Media Solutions, which publishes BOOMER, is quite literally her drug. She gets a kick out of it. You can tell she craves it, needs it and always wants to do it. You should see her – a baby boomer – jetting down the halls, speaking enthusiastically and moving with an energy most Millennials couldn’t maintain. You get the sense she thinks all the time, day and night, about the work she does. It consumes her, and not in the bad way, either. Her work gives her meaning, direction and purpose in life.

And it’s an inspiring sight to see, because I’ve never seen a person love what they do this much.

Now I’m not saying we should all be workaholics who live to work. I’m saying that if we have to work several hours a day for the rest of our lives (until we’re able to retire), then we should at least get a kick out of what we’re doing. We should find something to do that we love – something that people just also happen to pay us for doing.

If not, we’re just going through the motions, daydreaming of that better life when we could actually be hitting our potential and living the life we’re dreaming of. And you can’t be good at something, and you can’t really excel at something, unless you love the heck out of it.

I’m going to close with this piece of paraphrased advice by billionaire businessman and probably the happiest man in the world, Richard Branson: If you don’t enjoy doing it, it’s not worth doing.

It’s sure worked for him.

Daniel Jones is BOOMER’s staff writer. And while he enjoys writing for this magazine and website, he is still asking himself the important questions above. To contact him with a million-dollar book contract, one of his life goals, email him at You won’t be disappointed. 

More from Boomer

Transformation of a Dusty Basement

By Nancy Ngo, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) | June 10, 2024

When the Kids Move Back Home

By Ella Vincent, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance | May 20, 2024