The question I am trying to answer is "if someone does something because they love it, you start paying them to do what they love, will they stop doing it when you stop paying them?"
It looks like Timothy Ferriss would say yes. For those of you that don't know him, Timothy Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek. I won't review the book in detail here but his main premise, in three major points, is that (1) we are all working towards the wrong thing - we should be working towards postive cash flow, not a big chunk of change to retire with in 20 years, (2) we should be doing what excites us, not what just gives us pleasure and (3) we are all terribly inefficient - we should be able to generate sufficient cash by working 4 hours a week.
In a recent blog post Timothy Ferriss says that you shouldn't expect too much out of any one activity or it won't deliver on any of your expectations. So you shouldn't expect your job to provide you with a living and enjoyment because then it's unlikely to provide you with either very well. He relates it to exercise. You should either do recreational activities or work out but you should expect your afternoon leisure ride or your soccer game to provide you with fitness - you should go lift weights or run on the treadmill for that. So from that I get that he thinks you shouldn't try to get paid for writing the code you enjoy writing because they you are unlikely to make lots of money and unlikely to enjoy it any more.
I can't say I agree. I think it would take a tremendous amount of self-control and a certain personality to spend four hours a week doing something you hated to make a living, four hours a week doing grueling exercise to be in shape, four hours a week doing purely recreational activities, etc. I think most activities satisfy more than one need. Work can provide a paycheck, a social network, a sense of self worth, continuing education, etc. I do agree that expecting one activity to solve all things is going to lead to disappointment. People who expect work to provide them with a paycheck, excitement, fitness and a spouse are bound to be disappointed on at least one front.
So I think the point should be that you shouldn't turn down a job because it's something you enjoy doing - but you should expect that you might not enjoy it quite as much once you are getting paid to do. Maybe that's because now you have to work on it even when you'd rather be walking the dog or maybe it's because you have to do parts of it that you would have ignored when you weren't getting paid. Or maybe it's because instead of doing it 10 hours a week, you are now doing it 40 hours a week and that's more than you enjoy.
What do you think?
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