On Friday, I interviewed a friend of mine who makes beautiful natural wood furniture. This is just sort of a side thing he does: he has a regular day job, but on the side, he makes beautiful furniture. His work is mostly for his wife's business, but also occasionally he makes pieces on commission for other large businesses.
He took me on a tour of his business, as I marveled the craftsmanship of his work -- his pieces go beyond functional, they're practically sculptural. "Dude, this stuff is so beautiful," I gushed. "You could be huge."
He visibly balked.
"Not something you're interested in?"
"No, not really," he said. "I just like making special furniture. If someone gets one of my tables or pieces, and they really enjoy it, that's great. But I'd never want my work to become ..."
"... a commodity?" I smiled.
He smiled back. "Yes, actually. I mean, I love doing these, and I love when people love the finished product. I'd hate for this to become a job, you know? I just like making what I love to make, and if someone loves it, great, but if they don't, that's okay too. Someone else will."
For all my talk of leaving a job to do what you love, I have to say I deeply admire people who choose to do the opposite: keep their passions separate from the ways they make their living. Folks who follow their passions purely for the love of it, rather than for commercial success.
It's all about being really clear about how you spend your time, and why, I suppose.
Song: Solace of you, by Living Colour