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Why Do You Work? What Makes You Get Up Every Morning?

Why do you work?

What is it that makes you wake up every morning and get into that car like millions of others DO and head to a cubicle in a big office somewhere, not seeing the light of the day and coming back out when it is dark just to get on that same road where the millions are back and now heading home?

Despite having been in a profession that I enjoyed (or so I thought), I used to ask myself this question every now and then when I actually found some time to breathe self reflect.  So let me ask you the same today.

Why Do You Work and Sacrifice So Much?

Are you doing it consciously? Or are you doing it unconsciously like the cow that is part of a large cattle herd that is heading from point A to point B?  It is interesting that while most of us work, why we work is a question that is not often thought about as deeply as it should be.

If you ask the question “why do you work”, one of the most common and standard responses you will get is “to pay the bills”.  It’s funny.  My father in law always says that in America people are either tired, hungry or paying bills.

Is that all life is, waking up, working, paying bills, sleeping and doing it all over again?  That is like saying we live to work.  Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shouldn’t we be working to live?

As a default, most people work because that is what they have been told is the right thing to do. Go to school, get a degree and then go get a job.  To most, it is how we pay the bills if we want to survive (and thrive).

What happens most of the time is that people end up working because they “have to”, and therefore many end up in the wrong professions.  It is a fact that many working individuals can’t stand their jobs.

Many others are simply going through the motions while shaking their leg starring at the clock to strike 5pm. Sad but true – just look around you.

The Effect of Social Conditioning

The problem can be traced all the way to its roots I believe. It is social conditioning. When a child grows up and goes to college, they usually study what is popular at the time, or what their parents think is best for them, or simply what their best friend is doing.  But what should happen is for the child to discover his or her own passion and then pursue it in the form of education.

This rarely happens, and when it does it usually happens too late. This also explains the high number of confused college students who change majors 9 times before graduating. A lot of them don’t make it.  Of those that do, a good amount remain confused, often not able to decide which path to pursue.

A person spends approximately a third of their life at work, so it is very important that you are doing something that you really enjoy and care for.  You would think this is the fundamental criteria that determines where you work and what you do right?

Unfortunately most people take up jobs that happen to be available and which hire them, no matter what the jobs are, just to have something to do and make money to “pay the bills”.

The Bitter Realization in Life

The group of not-so-confused college graduates often start out with a lot of passion and fire under the belly, attempt to climb the corporate ladder very fast and end up in a spiral.  They might make significantly more than when they started with, but they are often demoralized, stressed out and simply burnt out from the workloads assigned to them.

And while climbing the ladder, those people buy cars, get mortgages on homes and develop a lifestyle that they cannot sustain if they were to simply leave their jobs.  A bit of a catch-22 isn’t it?

Have you heard of the saying that “most people really die at 35, and just refuse to get buried till they are 85”?  There is a lot of truth to that saying. I used to see this everywhere around me in the office. And I can’t tell you how many resumes I have reviewed that screen “just give me a job just for the sake of it”.

So while most seem to be going through the motions in the office and “working”, their soul is really discontent, unsatisfied; essentially dead.  This usually strikes most people sometime in their early to mid thirties, as they finally begin to realize what they have gotten themselves into.

Money Is Not Always the Answer

People start craving more after reaching a point in their careers, not necessarily financially, but from a satisfaction, flexibility and freedom perspective.

They finally realize that Corporate America isn’t what it is made to be, and that they are just a small fish in a big sea that don’t even enjoy the taste of the water in that sea. They realize how dependent they have become to their paychecks, and that they are just as vulnerable to the risk of job loss like most others.

While it takes a lot of guts, courage and proper planning to simply call it quits and move on to a more fulfilling career, it is simply not practical or possible for many.

However, what is possible is to explore other opportunities on the side that can bring the missing satisfaction back in life.  The few hours you spend doing what you love can easily make up for the several hours you spend dying in your cubicle.

How Can You Improve Your Situation?

And now that you know that you can work on building a business around your passion in your spare time, you need to ask yourself what is it that makes you tick?

What do you like to do best? What would you love to keep on learning about? What is your true calling that will make you keep working and not feel that you are?  That my friend is what you want to take and build a business around.

Face it, you are going to work hard in life anyway, so you might as well do it while loving what you are doing and making money at the same time. I have experienced this transformation that I am talking about.

I too got started while I was a full time employee, travelling year-round while not having enough time to take a breather.  Today I am a living example of everything I write about.

Few years back I decided to learn as much as I could about the Internet and what it takes to be successful on it.  I already had an entrepreneurial spirit, and just needed to add the technical “know how”.

I put the two together and flash forward a few years later I am in a position where I have multiple profitable websites that I really enjoy working on, and this blog is the most recent example of those.

Prior to this, I have never blogged in my life before.  I am applying the same fundamentals to this blog that I applied to my websites to make them successful.

I am finding that there are a lot of similarities between the two, but the blogging platform has its own challenges which I am learning, overcoming and accepting with open arms.

Thanks to this blog, I am able to write about topics that I love and am passionate about.  I am loving every bit of it despite my blog being the worst performer of all my websites strictly from a financial perspective.  It’s ok, I am am enjoying every moment of it. Blogging gives me something to look forward to.

The Internet is such that no matter what you are into, you can leverage it to monetize pretty much any concept. Pick something you are interested in and take it up as a side project. But whatever you do, do it soon. Time is precious and doesn’t wait for any of us :)

If you are looking for something to fill the satisfaction void in your life, pursue it today. If you are looking to get out of a dead end job, start planning and pursuing the alternative path today.  There is no point in waiting.

Do not live in a dead-end job that is demoralizing and unsatisfying without having much to look forward to. You will only continue to suffer more and kill your soul.  This causes all kinds of side effects, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Don’t let your circumstances affect your relationship with family, friends and your health.  Do something about it and do it today.  See how some others are living the dream.

Why do you work?

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36 Responses to “Why Do You Work? What Makes You Get Up Every Morning?”

  1. Hi Sunil,

    Came across your e-mail while going through and sorting old ones. Looks like your blog’s still up and running :)

  2. krantcents says:

    I love what i do! I started teaching in high school ten years ago. I spent most of my life chasing and catching my dream of financial independence. I have no problem waking up and going to work! In fact I generally teach during the summer or intersession. I look forward to going to work. It is because I enjoy what I am doing!

  3. Garry says:


    I could not agree with you more. Only two years ago I decided to leave my corporate job and become involved in an offline business. I must admit that I had to adjust my spending habits but the difference is I actually enjoy going to work and no longer do i dread hearing the alarm go clock sounding signalling that I have to go back to that sterile office. Anyway I haven’t really looked back since and I actually have more now than I did than. Great article sunil I think i will subscribe!

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome Garry – I’d love to hear more about why you left the man, what your endeavor was/is and how it has panned out for you overall. Please do share if you can.

      Hope you subscribed – would love to interact more.

  4. Garry says:


    Briefly, I guess the right opportunity came up I found an offline businees that was underperforming/poorly run than it was just a question of whether or not I could do better If I could add more value for the existing customer base how could I grow the current business. What were other business’s in the same industry doing? How was the industry performing in general? Could I have some fun doing it? I found it quite straight forward to answer these questions and I guess partly I took a chance that everything could go horribly wrong thankfully that was not the case I now find myself with more time to spend with my partner and friends plus I am actually excited about the possibilities and enjoy getting up in the morning.

  5. Sandip says:

    Awesome article and whole heartedly agree with what you said. I recently left my job and am now making my living online – a much better lifestyle and finally doing what I enjoy!

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome Sandip. Mind sharing what is it that you are doing? What made you finally call it quits? What advice would you give someone looking to transition like you did?

  6. Great post, Sunil! My job is not that bad to be honest, and there are many aspects of it that I like, but in the end, what I truly crave is freedom and independence. I would like to continue to build up those side passions in order to get closer to that goal.

    • Sunil says:

      You are fortunate to be in that position, trust me. You seem to have the best of both worlds, and a day will come when you become “job optional”. How are the side passions progressing on your end?

      • I haven’t yet reached the magical 1k mark, but I’m getting closer!

      • Sandip says:

        I was working as an analyst for a major investment house but life was just so dull. I wasn’t passionate about what I did and seeing grey faces all around me was starting to kill my soul. I needed to unleash my entrepreneurial spirit!

        I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of making money online. I started trying to make money online while working, utilizing any and all of my spare time trying different techniques. Made soooo many mistakes but after around a year I finally started generating an income. I now generate enough to be able to live of it and now I’m working on taking my income generation to the next level.

        I’m involved in all sorts of online businesses from affiliate sites to white label products and marketplaces. I’m really enjoying been able to take full control of my future!

        There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else as long as you love what you do. As mentioned in your post, I was one of those that went down the cool route of ‘investment banking’ only to realize that it wasn’t as glamorous as everyone made out.

        • Sunil says:

          Good stuff Man – great to hear a synopsis of your story. Please stay in touch and continue to keep me updated of your ventures and progress. Let me know if I can be of any help.

  7. Sandip says:

    Thanks Sunil. I’ve just ‘liked’ your Facebook page – feel free to hit me up on there. Always good to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs :)

  8. Great post Sunil!
    I rarely post a comment there but I cannot keep my thought any more this time.
    I am working 9-5 and every day I leave home before my son wakeup, and comeback 1 hour before he goes bed.So I have only 1 hour to play/discuss/talk with him. Yes I have weekends, but for me, this is not a life. I will not spend all my life until retire (60years) and living like this.

    What I am doing in my job is not really what I wanted to do. I’ve committed (to myself) I will launch my own business around my passion in 2 years from now. This will allow me working on my passion and having more time for my familly.

    Thanks a lot, owesome post!

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome Frankck –

      The challenge is always that we also need to put food on the table, and thus the job. That is why side gigging is often a good start, but that also comes with challenges such as having to work your spare time instead of spending with family and friends. I am glad you have a plan to start it up in 2 years time. I’d love to hear more about your idea and results as you progress. Please keep me posted.

      On a side note, I am glad you finally posted. It is actually not uncommon for readers not to leave comments. As you can see, there are over 4,000 subscribers but very little comment activity. What can be the reason?

      The only reason I have concluded thus far is that I write on a few different topics, each of which has its subset of audience which together make up 4,000. But even then . . . maybe I should write more posts that touch our day to lives such as this?

      • Sandip says:

        Sunil, this does indeed look like a very successful post of yours and great to have others sharing their story. I agree, the reason why I haven’t commented on all of your other posts is because they don’t relate to me as much – this does! And I can tell it’s been written with passion and from experience which is always the way to go.

        I would personally like to hear more about the mistakes you made when creating an online businesses and alternative opportunities online.

        I’ve read your ebook and that’s HIGHLY motivational and a great starting point for everyone. Guys, make sure you read it if you haven’t already done so. I could relate to everything you talked about and it helped reaffirm my thoughts on making extra money online.

        • I do agree with Sandip –

          And I support also the request about sharing the mistakes Sunil had faced in his online business.

          Very few time we have a chance to read about mistakes and fairlure in online business. All we heard is about success, success and success. But for me , as well for Sandip, it is highly important to know the problems you face and all mistakes you’ve done during your online business journey.
          I’m convinced Sunil you can share a valuable post about those subjects.
          Thanks a lot for keeping up our motivation. I will always keep reading your blog.

  9. Awesome post,Thanks a lot,There’s nothing wrong with working for someone else if you love what you do.

  10. Money is addicting! It’s hard to give up that corporate paycheck. I’m not quite satisfied with my corporate life either and I’m working hard to change that. Sooner or later, I’ll strike out on my own too. You and other entrepreneurs are great role models for me.

  11. Nigel Chua says:

    Hey Sunil

    This is a very good question, that is very elusive to many simply because, as you’ve aptly put it – social conditioning. I speak, eat, breathe, sleep entrepreneurship, making money and delivering value every single moment of my life, and I love it! I work harder, but it is so much more meaningful and fulfilling to me, the way I live my life, with my business.

    Why do I work? Hmm. After much thoughts and mulling on it, I’ve concluded that when I do what I’m supposed to do, when I’m supposed to, I feel and know that I’m truly happy, and that makes my Lord happy too.

    • Sunil says:

      Good answer Nigel, many do find Nirvana in doing what they love

      • Nigel Chua says:

        =P what about you? What’s your reason?

        • Sunil says:

          I can copy/paste your response back to you and I wouldn’t be wrong. I’d add to that challenge, the interest in doing something new and different and not being restricted from it/experimenting. Lately many more small businesses and professionals (lawyers, CPAs, real estate agents, doctors and dentists, etc) have been approaching me needing their websites optimized. Getting each one on page one is rewarding for me, knowing that my efforts have led to an increased business for them. I have always wanted to work in a way that has a direct, visible impact on people’s lives and small consulting projects give me a chance to do exactly that. I would’ve trained to become a doctor like my sister, but I just don’t have that in me!

          • Nigel Chua says:

            Hahahaha! Understand that – like yourself, it gives me great pleasure to have a direct, positive impact on another person’s life, a corporation, or society, be it from a business advisory position, or a hand therapist position. It just feels good to help others go up another level.

            I almost wanted to become a doctor too, but now I’m glad I’m not. Just realized recently that it’s much better to be a therapist, as it’s so much more easily replicable…

  12. David says:

    I have been working for the same company for 21 years now. For 17 of those years I had a GREAT job and loved what I did, then the company moved my job to the east coast. I did not want to move so I took another position within the company. I do NOT like this position. Much more stress and less pay as well as management that wants to spend as little as possible to fix things. Programs may break every week for months or years before a real fix is introduced. One small consolation is that I now work from home. The worst part of my commute is looking out for doggie toys in the hallway. Lol! But I want more! I do not want to be at the whims and mercy of management or the miniscule raise I might receive each year. After 4 years of no raise I got 1.5% last year. UGH! I want to live where I want to live and work the hours when I am most productive. So I am getting an online education, learning about what it takes to earn some money from the interwebs. Hopefully I can break out of my research paralysis soon.

    Best regards,


    • Sunil says:

      David – it’s very much possible. The beauty of the web is that it allows us to create a business that fits our life plan, not the other way around. We have that option

  13. David says:

    Sunil, I am wondering how some of your kind readers of this blog broke out of their ‘Analysis Paralysis’ and got started? I feel in my heart that I can do this but where do I start? I know that once I get going I can make a living off of the internet. There are so many opportunities to choose from. Which one do I grab and run with?

    Best regards,


    • Sunil says:

      David – this is more of a mindset conflict than anything else. only you can control what you decide to get distracted with/by. pick a model that fits your lifestyle and focus just on that. read my article on which business model you should follow, as well as the article on life plan vs business plan. finally, on my home page, click the “start here” guide. i hope that helps. if it does not, please come back and let me know. let’s make sure you get started on the right track. how is that?

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