The Importance of Enjoying Work: Love What You Do and Do What You Love

I know these are hard economic times. I conducted five interviews on Friday with lots of amazing candidates with tons of experience in different fields to accompany their college degrees. People are forced to apply to any job that can pay the bills, whether they know how to do it or don’t, whether they’ll love every minute of it or wish the nightmare would just end. Alana and I both recently went through a lot of interviews of our own trying to figure out post-graduate work situations that would sustain our life in Boulder and, most importantly, for now, help pay off the student loans as soon as possible. But we were either smart or lucky, or a little bit of both. Our stubbornness in terms of applying to the right jobs and choosing the right jobs amongst a sea of interviews and offers seems to have paid off well.

Alana and I worked three jobs at one point over the past few months; one full time, one part time, and one very part time unofficial off-the-books job. Alana stopped doing her off-the-books job because it was just too much work for her when she was going seven days a week. Although, it was work that she enjoyed, it was too much and it’s important to know yourself and to know when to say enough is enough. Money is important, but we’re not the kind of people that enjoy the finer things in terms of clothing and cars and the flashy stuff. We’re happy with good food, good exercise, good family, and some nice books and video games. So our income doesn’t need to be excessive or even average, because it just needs to be coming from jobs that we enjoy.

Things we buy

Things we buy

For our personal update, without saying too much, Alana is working as a full-time certified personal trainer at the Longmont YMCA, Monday through Friday. On Sundays, she works as a caregiver at an assisted living home in Boulder. She loves training and this YMCA is very warm and friendly, so the job makes perfect sense. The commute is a little bit long for her liking, but it’s worth it. She works her second job to gain experience in the health care field in order to make her training in becoming a nurse a little easier. She just recently registered as a student with Front Range Community College so that she could take her pre-requisites for nursing school.


I am working as a full time swim teacher at the Swim School of Boulder. I also will be, or already am, the head coach of the Swim School of Boulder Club Swim Team. It officially launches January 1st 2013, but I’ve been working hard to make sure everything is prepared. Secondly, I work one or two days and seven to fourteen hours a week also at the Longmont YMCA as the instructional swim coordinator and aquatics advisor. I am trying to rebuild the aquatics department in order to provide the services to the community that I feel they deserve from an Aquatics department. Third, I walk a large dog in North Boulder, some times seven days a week typically for an hour at a time or some weeks not at all so it’s very on and off.

Despite working 45-50 hours a week each, on average, we’re extremely happy with our jobs and employers. It makes the rest of life a lot easier and even though we don’t make as much money as we might be able to, we appreciate the fact that we are employed and able to feed ourselves and stay warm at night. We try not to take anything for granted and remember we’re just the same as everyone else in terms of having to face this struggle.

So even though I can’t do anything to make you as lucky as us, be stubborn, and try your hardest without starving to find a job that you really enjoy, because it will make you that much happier.

9 Responses to "The Importance of Enjoying Work: Love What You Do and Do What You Love"

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  1. ahappylass

    December 17, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I had to do the exact same thing. With a Masters in Architecture I work in event planning and marketing for a Health Center. I’m not getting paid nearly what I need but I love the job and I’m using it to learn more about nutrition and fitness. Now I’m thinking I eventually want to incorporate health and wellness into my design/construction career. You never know where life will take you if you’re forced to take a different path.

    • hungryandfit

      December 17, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      It’s amazing what life can do

  2. Road to Active

    December 17, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Enjoying the work you do regardless of pay is an important life tip. Sometimes we stay with a career because it pays well, but deep inside we want to do something more exciting, more rewarding. I am sometimes guilty of staying with my career because of the money, but there are more days than not that I do enjoy my work. I also consider myself fortunate to have a steady job that allows me to enjoy life outside of work. I hope we all find that balance!

  3. Gpa

    December 17, 2012 at 11:33 am

    We admire your dedication and “the energy of youth”.
    With some slight modifications–or not–some of your columns could be submitted to the Boulder paper or Rocky Mountain News. I say that because you have very helpful things to say.

  4. thehumaneclectic

    December 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Amen to this post. I totally agree with it. I’m currently not rolling in gobs of cash and I sense the specter of debt creeping up on me, but its like you folks said a few articles back, you have to keep your head up. Happiness is a choice, NOT a purchase. I think many people our age need to realize this and claim their joy. This world is rich and can provide for all of us if we just take it.

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