Last Updated May 20, 2011 9:11 PM EDT
We'd probably all take the money, but some of us would have more regrets than others -- an insight that can help you figure out whether you're in something approaching the right job now.
A reader wrote me that he'd never found anything he really loved that someone would pay him for. He sent me a few examples of things he enjoyed doing with his time -- running half-marathons slowly, playing golf decently and riding sport bikes -- but the job pickings for these skills were slim.
Which is true. But that doesn't mean that no one will pay you for any of those skills, or that it's impossible to make a living by doing those activities with your time.
Take running slowly. Long-time Runner's World columnist John "The Penguinâ€ Bingham (currently writing at Competitor magazine) has made his name talking about running in the back of the pack. Now, he gives speeches and sells books about this topic. All of which involve money.
Or let's think about golf and sport bikes. I could easily imagine a website that offered no-holds barred product reviews on sports equipment. As the blog founder, you'd get to test the sports equipment, playing whatever recreational sports struck your fancy to cover. Of course, building up such a blog readership to the point of profitability would take time and effort, but plenty of sports equipment companies and those who make related products might be up for advertising once the readership grew.
Neither of these careers is as straightforward as earning six figures plus benefits in marketing. They require being entrepreneurial, and stomaching a lot of risk. Some people have lives where that's a possibility, and others have family situations that require them to produce a solid paycheck every 2 weeks without fail. But the good thing about writing about careers for years is that I'll never say never. I once interviewed a man who made a living building sandcastles. He created elaborate ones as part of installations at malls, store openings, corporate events, etc. Just because what you love to do is impractical doesn't mean it's impossible. Those are very different words, and very different ways of looking at the world.
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