Why You Absolutely Should NOT Settle for a Job You Don’t Love

by | BiggerPockets.com

I have seen a few different view points on the question of whether you should do what you love or choose a career that pays well, even if you hate your job.

I have also had many comments on some of my previous articles about the dangers of encouraging children to do what they love because they may be disappointed if they don’t make it. If you have read many of my articles, you should know I am a huge advocate of doing what you love when you work or at least choosing a job that you like and have fun doing.

If you like your job, you will be more motivated to succeed, more willing to go the extra mile, and you will have fun at work. Working at a job you hate just for a paycheck could drag down your entire life.

Related: 8 Crucial Points to Consider BEFORE Quitting Your Job to Invest Full Time

Why Should We Encourage Our Kids to Do What They Love?

I have 3-year-old twins, and I encourage them as much as I possibly can.

I know they may not remember a lot of what I am telling them at this age, if anything. But I want to start the habit of letting them know they can do or be anything they want to be.

I have heard many people over the years warn about the danger of encouraging our children too much because they might be disappointed if they don’t become what they wanted to be. I can tell you from the experiences in my life that my biggest disappointments are not from trying my hardest to do something and not making it, but from not trying at all and wondering what would have happened had I tried.

When you give it your all and don’t quite make it, at least you know you tried, and you probably learned a lot about yourself and what you were trying to do in the process. Having never tried something, you never learn anything, and you never know if you could have made it. To me, it is much more regretful to have never tried than to have tried and not made it.

Why We Should Encourage Our Children in Sports

One of the comments most heard about telling your children what they can and can’t do is in regards to professional sports.

As a kid I wanted to be a professional baseball player, basketball player or even football player. My parents were great at encouraging me, but the world around me told me I could never be a professional athlete; there was too much competition. I wasn’t big enough, fast enough or strong enough. I never became a professional athlete, and I never really tried either.

If I had tried, I probably never would have made it, but is that so bad?

People argue that it is a waste of time to spend your life attempting to be a professional athlete when the chances are so slim of making it. Most athletes I see who gave it their all, but did not make it are not bad off — and they loved the experience. They also learned an amazing amount of things they can use in life, such as:

  • How to push themselves as hard as they can through conditioning
  • How to work on a team and trust other people
  • How to interact with other people
  • How to lead people and gain confidence
  • How to focus intently — all sports require incredible focus, and our society as a whole is extremely unfocused

Not only do athletes learn all of these traits and many more in sports, they also meet a lot of people.

In the business of real estate, networking is extremely important, as it is with most vocations. The more people you meet and the more people you become friends with, the better chance you have of succeeding.

Not to mention athletes also can get scholarships that will help pay for college. Don’t forget there are people who are professional athletes, and many of them are not the most talented people, but the hardest workers.

What Happens to Athletes When They Don’t Make it?

If you don’t make it as a professional, you still had to make it in school to be an athlete. You can’t play on the team in high school or college if you don’t pass your classes, so you at least get an education.

That education and the connections you make will help you succeed in life.

But the athlete still is not doing what they love, which is paying pro ball. Who says the athlete can’t get a job in the sports field and still do what they love? You can be a manager, a trainer, a sports psychologist, a coach, an equipment salesman, a front office worker, a reporter, a writer — and hundreds of other related jobs.

Related: Secrets to Real Estate Investing While Having a Full Time Job

By trying to make it, you have an advantage over other people because you have the experience and connections in the business. You can still do what you love — which is work in the sports field — without being a pro athlete.

How Can This Relate to Other Fields?

My example is about being a pro athlete, but this idea can be applied to any vocation.

Whatever you love to do (or at least like to do), you can make money with. You may not always do what you envisioned doing as a child or even as an adult, but if you keep your eyes open, there is opportunity in everything.

By trying your hardest and going for your dreams, you have the experience and credibility to work in that field. You also may see opportunities to start a business because you will see opportunities for improvements or products firsthand.

What Are the Advantages of Doing What You Love (or at Least Liking Your Job)?

If you do what you love or at least have fun with your job, you are more likely to succeed.

Some of the richest people in the world discuss the philosophy that when you do what you love, you aren’t working, you are having fun and making money at the same time. When you love what you do, you don’t stare at the clock waiting for the evening or weekend. You wish you had more time in the day to explore your ideas and work on your projects.

Here are a few advantages of doing what you love:

  • You pay attention to your job and are always looking for opportunities
  • You show enthusiasm, see things others don’t and will get noticed for promotions or advancement if you have a boss
  • You will be happier, which makes your family happier and will reduce stress
  • You will not get burned out easily — the longer you work in a field, the more people you will meet and the more success you will see
  • If you see an opportunity to create a product or start a business, it will be easier because you love the work

What Are the Disadvantages of Working Just for a Paycheck?

Some say you should chose your area of employment based on how much money you can make. But if you hate your job and what you do, are you going to make much money doing it?

If you don’t like your job, you aren’t going to put in the same effort no matter how hard you try. Your boss will know you hate your job, your co-workers will know, and it will be hard to advance. You won’t see opportunities for new products or business to start because you don’t care.

If you did see an opportunity, would you really want to start a business doing something you have no interest in and dislike?

What About the Money?

I don’t care if you have a passion for the lowest paying job in the world, you can make money at it.

You may not make money doing the conventional jobs that everyone else does in that field, but if you love what you do, you will see opportunity. That opportunity will allow you to make more money by making your boss more money or allow you to start your own business.

I’ll use Ben Leybovich as an example. He was an amazing violinist, but so are about 1,000 other people in the world for every 10 jobs out there. He saw the writing on the wall and decided to get into real estate to help create passive income. He did not abandon music altogether, and in fact he started a school with his wife to teach others how to play. There was not opportunity to make it as a violinists, but there was plenty of opportunity to start a business teaching others.

The average income for a real estate agent is around $40,000 a year; that is not much money, especially when you consider commission splits and the other marketing expenses an agent has. But when you dive deeper into that number, you see a different picture.

Most agents are part-time and bring that number down. If you look at Realtors who work full-time, that number climbs well above $50,000 a year. If you look at Realtors who work 60 hours a week, that number climbs to over $80,000 a year. When you consider most agents don’t try very hard to be successful and are flat-out bad at their job, there is a lot of money in real estate for those who have a plan and work hard at it. I know three agents in my office alone that make over $300,000 a year as a Realtor.

The numbers don’t always tell the entire story when picking a career.


I think the ultimate way to be happy and make a lot of money is to start your own business.  In order to be successful, I think you have to enjoy what you do to make the jump of starting your own business and have the determination to make it succeed.

I like houses, and I like real estate, although showing houses to buyers is not my favorite thing to do. I have learned to make money flipping, to make money listing houses, to make money writing about real estate and to make money with rentals.

If you do what you love and keep your eyes open to opportunities, you will make money and have fun at the same time.

What do you think? Do you love what you do, or are you still looking for a career that provides money AND fulfillment?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

About Author

Mark Ferguson

Mark Ferguson is a has been a real estate investor and real estate agent/broker since 2002. He has flipped over 165 homes in that time, including more than 70 in the last three years. Mark owns more than 20 rental properties that include single family homes, as well as commercial properties, including a 68,000 square foot strip mall. Mark has sold more than 1,000 homes as a real estate agent and is the owner/managing broker of Blue Steel Real Estate in Greeley, Colorado. Mark started the InvestFourMore blog and website in 2013, which has hundreds of article on real estate. Mark is constantly sharing his insights, case studies, and interesting things that happen to real estate investors on both his blog and well-known sites like Forbes.


  1. I totally agree with the philosophy of doing what you love and not worrying about the money. The money will come. I have twins. Both started out playing basketball when they were four years old. All my son wanted to do was play basketball. My daughter could take it or leave it. When with grade came along, my son was still a good player,but sat on the bench most of the time. My daughter still was seeing a lot of playing time. As my twins reached high school, My son switched to tennis, my daughter played on the J.V basketball team and went out for track. She made the varsity track team. Now in their Jr. year of high school, my son is much more into music, writing and playing the trumpet has he alway had since 4th grade, my daughter has set 5 school records in track, and will get a scholarship from any pack 12 college after this season.

    I, by the way was a professional athlete for 20 years. My point is this…… find someone you love, and DO IT!! HAVE A PASSION!! YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL!!!

    My passion now is real estate, buying and holding. It may take me a little while to get my first rental, buy I will never give up until I have 10-20 rental properties to start. Getting that first one or starting out is very difficult, but if you keep with it and don’t give up, one will succeed. I truly believe that.

  2. Nice article and definitely something to think as I move forward with building my real estate business. During my first rehab, I fell in love with tearing it down and transforming it into a liveable space. I can’t wait to buy my next property. I’m looking forward to day when I’m able to do this as a full time endeavor.

  3. I always had a problem with finding something you love and doing it.

    What if you are not really good at what you love? What if you suck? Yes, you may get better, but the maximum you’ll ever achieve would be only becoming an average. And what if you are extremely good, perfect, at something you don’t love. Do you just flush that down the drain? Yes, according to your article people cannot become really good at something they don’t love, but that happens. Some people just have an innate talent to do certain things, and they can easily become the best with a minimal effort. And usually these people do not want to be doing something they are good at, they want to be doing something they are not very good at, to challenge themselves, or prove themselves (I’m not sure what is the psychological reasoning for that, bit some people want to be something they will never be great at).

    I do have this dilemma, and still struggle with it. Isn’t it easier to just convince ourselves that we love what we are really good at?

    • Galya, I have not seen you comment in a while! Good to hear from you.
      Great comment, here are my thoughts.

      We never know how good we will be at something unless we give it our all and try. We may suck at something in the beginning, but then become better as time goes on to the point that it is second nature and we are better than anyone else at it. I don’t think you can say that the maximum you will ever achieve is average. Because 90% of people will never put 100% into anything. Even if someone has all the talent in the world, but they do not put any effort forth, the person who gives it their all can surpass that talent. It is seen i the sports world all the time. That is involving natural athletic ability, in business it is about education, know how and experience, not as much natural ability.

      I think someone can become really good at something they don’t like, but it is much harder. There is also a better chance they will get burned out and stop trying very hard. They may be good at what they do,but they probably won’t ever reach the pinnacle. They also probably won’t enjoy their life as much.

      As far as people wanting to do something they won’tr ever be good at, maybe they are afraid of success. Maybe they are afraid to try something with all their effort and not be successful so they take the easy route where they know they won’t succeed. We are all different, but challenge is a good thing in my book. There are many things we all love to do, so you don’t have to challenge yourself with something you don’t like. Challenge yourself with something you love, but never tried.

      I don’t like tricking myself, I think it takes away from my natural happiness. if I am good at something, but don’t like doing it there still may be options. What if you like part of what you do, partner with someone else who likes doing the other part.

      Most people are good at what they do because they have done it for a very long time, not because of special natural ability. Some natural ability helps and makes it easier, but practice and experience are what really make us good.

      • Ok, Mark, do you know those people that everyone hates because they don’t exercise, eat whatever they want and look ripped. I am one of those people, I don’t go to gym, I eat whatever I want and I have visible 6-packs actually all my body is one big muscle, with no effort on my part to look like that. I tell some people that I do exercise, so they don’t feel bad, but actually all I do is working on my house projects and my back yard (yes, my backyard is huge).

        I have friends, many friends, that practically live in a gym, but they just barely loose a few pounds and have a very long way to go to even get closer to me, if they ever.
        What do you tell those people living in a gym and barely getting anywhere, do you tell them that they are not giving their 100%, or they afraid of actually loosing weight? What do you tell someone who is working hard and not going anywhere? And they do ask me, since they think I know the answer.

        I can bring examples from my work too, but it would be very similar. I’m very good at it, and I don’t like it. I have 18 years of experience, so yes, I should be good at it, but I have always been, it just comes like a second nature to me. It’s just a technical job, and apparently I am good at technical things. It’s challenging at the beginning, and I like that part, but when it becomes a routine, I don’t like it anymore. I can’t really pass it onto anyone, since I’m the best at doing it, so I have no choice, at my job, the best person should be doing things.

        I do agree that there are certain fears that people have to overcome to be the best. But fears are innate, like fear of snakes, mice, darkness. I also believe that some people don’t have those fears and therefore they are better off than others. Some people have natural instincts and if they follow them, they can become the best. Though instincts can develop with experience, and you can learn to ignore the fear, but I don’t think that people who have to consciously overcome fears and follow instincts would be ever as good as those who do it subconsciously. Don’t you agree?

        • Galya, I am decent shape, but I have to work at it. I know what you mean with people who do not have to work at it. I agree that people have natural abilities and differences in physical traits. For those people who struggle with weight do they get help and follow a plan? I am not saying everyone can lose weight with a plan and help, but many times people spin their wheels doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I have seen a lot of people lose weight when they followed a strict plan that was given to them by a trainer or a program like slimgenics or weight watchers.

          I think people can choose to use those traits or not too. My family has pretty good math genes. My sister is a professor who teaches physics and has a doctorate in physics. Math was always easy for me, but I learned early in college that I did not like doing complicated math, even if I could do it. I liked easy math like the math used in business. I switched from engineering to business when I was a freshman because I did not want to spend my life doing that work.

          I did not ignore my talents, but I put them to use in a field that I enjoyed. One of the points of my articles was that what someone else sees as the only way to use talent like being a pro ball player may not be the only way. There may be many other options that are possible and just as fun.

          You are great at your technical job, are there things you like doing that bring that technical side or require it? Maybe you are good at your job because of your skills, but you could use those skills for a different job that you do like. I am in the mindset that I will do what is right for me and my family and what makes us happy. I won’t destroy someone else’s life to do it or infringe on someone’s rights. When you make your self happy you usually make others around you happier and they in turn make others happier. I think a lot of it starts with our jobs.

          I don’t see it as a fact that you should keep doing your job because you are best at it. What if there was something else you are even better at, that you have never tried? And that line of work you actually enjoy?

  4. Mark – awesome post. Very motivating for me!

    My job pays pretty well, but I just can’t stand working in an industry that I care nothing about. Currently studying for my RE license exam while putting together a business plan to go full-time in real estate.

    Looking to build a Flipping Business and work as a RE agent as well. Thoughts on doing both? Better to focus on one?

    Thanks in advance for your time and response!

    • Jeff, I think focus is very important. I always suggest someone focus on one thing first. If you want to be an agent, focus on selling houses and building your business. Once you have it set up to make money and you can hire help then you could start to focus on adding additional streams of income.

  5. Mark,

    Excellent post! I recently left the well-paying corporate existence that I hated, and am now working to get a real estate investing business off the ground, which I love. And I have four year old twins. So this was a very timely post for me. 🙂

  6. Mark,

    As someone who found himself in a career he didn’t enjoy out of college, I totally agree. At the time, I knew I wasn’t happy but always struggled with thoughts like ‘don’t be a baby, just suck it up for the next 40 years like everyone else’. I’m so happy I didn’t. At first I was afraid of attempting to switch careers because of investing the time and money for classes and then failing. But the fear of regret eventually exceeded my fear of failure, and I think that was a key turning point. Not only did I not fail at it, but even if I had, I grew alot in the process. It also taught me how to overcome the challenges of working towards a goal while being employed full time, which I can now apply to real estate investing, or even another career change down the road if it happens.

    Careers are not static because people are not static. You’re interests will grow and change. You can grow and change with them or stay where you are, but like anything else that’s worth going after, it all depends on your attitude, how hard you work, and how bad you want it. The ‘why’ has to be big enough to push you through the fears and challenges.

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