For example, as the Bride said, have I always dreamed of coming to sit in an office and have to repeatedly consult dictionaries and usage manuals about the placement of zs and commas? Does it fill my heart with joy to think of the obnoxious authors who get to spew at me when they want, without the guarantee that someone senior will yell at them for it? (I’m lucky, my Commissioning Editor did, but it’s very rare.) Can the need to correct the placement of every apostrophe, with intense consultation with three other people, be a calling? I don’t think so. Editing is not very creative. It’s not particularly challenging either, because, at the end oft he day, the author calls the shots, and his or her name is on the cover. I can suggest a better way to say something, but they can keep the shite. It pays nothing.
But I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy in my job. It know what’s expected of me. I know I’ll be home and free of work at 530pm. I know I will get vacation when I want it. I know I will have many long and amicable conversations with colleagues on all sorts of stuff, not the least how annoying a particular person is. I also know that if something goes out with *gasp* an inconsistent style, no one will die. No great horrific thing will happen. It doesn’t have a lot of room for failure; but it doesn’t have a lot of room for success either. Which is fine. I took something I’m good at, and I found a niche where I have the space to work at my pace and indulge in all the other activities I want.
The tiny paycheque does hurt, I will give you that. Maybe I can’t travel as much as I’d like, or buy the equipment I’d like, or even think of saving up to open a cafe someday, because I can’t save. I’d still rather be here than at the last job, though the work was similar. Do I get excited about the Amitava Ghosh launch? Yes. Do I get livid about said obnoxious author? Yes. But is this my Passion??
The thing is, it’s not simply about find your passion and life will be cookies and margaritas. First, what is the passion? Second, what if you never find one? Third, what if you find it but you suck at it? Fourth, what if its one of those things where its practically impossible to keep your head above water, like wildlife photography? Fifth, what if choosing the passion means giving up something else that’s important, like having kids? Its never as simple as ‘finding your passion’.