You’ve probably heard some people who give career advice suggest that you take something you love and then see if you can find a way to get paid for doing it. There is some merit in this as the work you would be doing on a daily basis would be something you’d enjoying doing and to get paid for doing it would seemingly give you endless days of pleasure, giving you the seemingly the perfect job. I beg to differ.
This past weekend in Canada where I reside, we had a 3 day weekend owing to the fact it was Victoria Day. Where I live, each of the three days was warmer than the day before it, and while the first two days were a nice mixture of sun and cloud, the third was sunny and a scorcher. Here we haven’t hit summer yet, and the May 24th weekend is the signpost that we use to do much of our garden plantings as all danger of frost is usually over with.
Can you see where I’m going? I love gardening. On any given weekend I look forward to waking up and getting out and about the property to see what’s sprouting up, what needs weeding, fertilizing, watering or cutting. Some days I know exactly what I want to accomplish by days end, and other days I find myself looking back on a day where I got things done I had no idea of working on until I got taken with some inspiration along the way. Yes, I really do enjoy spending time gardening.
As late afternoon Monday rolled around; it being the last of the three days off, I found myself showered from the dirt and grime of the garden beds and sitting back looking out at the backyard with my wife. We counted ourselves fortunate that we live where we do, have our health and the serenity that comes from having a nice place to come home to each day where we can relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of our little piece of the world. What I could not do on my own in this space was haul the massive armour stones that frame our waterfall, nor do I have the equipment to dig down deep and eventually lay out our back two patios which have a lot of curves and required some fine stone cutting.
From time-to-time I’ve thought about landscaping and property maintenance as a career. I know when I create a garden from what was a plot of grass, I feel good inside looking at the finished product and knowing how much improved the space looks. Over time I’ve learned quite a bit about what plants to grow and how to group them so they are attractive to the eye, which bees, birds or butterflies will be drawn in with the choices I make etc.
So a career in gardening, landscaping, property maintenance etc. might on the surface be a good choice for me. Alas my friends, it is not so. For starters, I’m not at the right time in my life to entertain such a career even if I were looking for a change (which I’m not by the way. I love my current job). While I don’t have the heavy equipment needed for some jobs, I know I could rent these things as needed and keep my costs down. I know too that on a small-scale, I’ve got some of the basic tools of the trade; the lawn mower, shovels, rototillers, wheelbarrow, edger, hoe, weed-puller and a pick axe. Pick axe you say? Yep, a pick axe is a great tool for skimming off grass and breaking up hard soil or removing rocks from the ground. Tools therefore would not be an obstacle to getting started.
What I wouldn’t like about the job is that; well…it would become a job. Right now this hobby of mine is mine to do as I please. It’s a little too hot, I stop. It’s a little too chilly or wet, I don’t start. My choice you see; my time. However, if I was to be employed as a Landscaper, I’d feel that very real sense of duty and commitment. It would possibly turn this activity I find so rewarding into a source of income but I’d be disappointed if somewhere along the way this turned into something I had to do rather than loved to do.
Now sure I’ve offered and volunteered my time and knowledge to help with enhancing friends and neighbours properties. This I think is what being a good friend and neighbour is all about; lending a hand.
In my case at any rate, I want to separate my paid employment from one of my hobbies that brings me joy. Were I to go back in time and choose a different occupation I may well have done very well to choose Horticulture and launch a career in that field, (no pun intended) but back then I didn’t even think of this and wouldn’t have known how to go about getting started if I had. The ironic drawback might be that I’d be so busy improving other people’s properties that my own might be neglected as I wouldn’t have the drive to landscape from 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and then come home to work on my own.
What are your thoughts on doing what you love for a living? Is this always a good idea?