There is a lot of anxiety on how to make a job the job of your dreams, as if the only metric for a good job is how much you love your job. Entry-level workers want to find the career of their dreams. Experienced professionals want to transition to the career of their dreams. Everyone’s asking: how do I fuel my passion AND get paid for it?
While getting to a place where you love your job is truly the ideal – you earn a living while enriching your life! — people put too much pressure on themselves to find this ultimate job. People seem to think that every job should, not only sustain their financial and physical needs, but also simultaneously sustain their spiritual, mental and emotional needs as well.
If you find that you don’t love your job — say, it doesn’t fuel your passion — that is definitely a sign to consider alternatives. But don’t beat yourself over the head if you’re just working hard, earning your keep and still not finding nirvana. Earning a living and actually living can be separate pursuits and should be separate depending on the circumstances.
In this chaotic labor market, it is difficult to maintain a current job, much less initiate a career transition where you love your job. If you have a creative dream (e.g., acting), it might not always be possible to rely on earnings from your art to get the credit card bills paid.
This isn’t to say that you don’t pursue your passions. Of course, you want to love your job. You just don’t have to achieve that goal in the context of every paying job or even your job right now. You want to love your job in the long-term and most of the time, but not necessarily all the time or immediately.
Try living outside of how you earn a living. Take a class in something interesting but unrelated to your career. Make seeing your friends a priority. Spend time with yourself – to catch a game, to visit a museum. Once you get going on this small scale, you will be renewed, and it will have an impact on your life and career, perhaps even encouraging you to love your job more as is. These small actions might also encourage you to make bigger changes, even a career change to land a job you love more. Or, you might realize that the way you earn a living is just fine, you love your job enough, and you can just continue living outside of your job.
A version of this post first appeared on Forbes.com.