Bitch, even my shoes mean business.
To hear the hype, you'd think everyone should be living the dream, doing what they love, plus having leisure time to fulfill all their goals and passions. If you're not, you are obviously not thinking big enough or trying hard enough. You should be a superstar entrepreneur, ballin' around like a boss on a yacht, right? This is a world where everyone is a CEO and no one is a janitor.
I think this bizarre fantasy causes more discontentment than it does to inspire anyone's dreams.
The last thing you want to end up doing is choosing a career you don't enjoy for money when you have no life at the end of the day. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you don't want to sell yourself short and miss a great opportunity by remaining tethered to small potatoes jobs out of comfort and stability. Lots of leisure time, but nothing to show for it except a beer belly and being the only guy/gal in your circle that never has plans.
Sometimes a career is your life's fulfillment and purpose and sometimes a job is just a job. And guess what? Both paths can be the right choice. You simply have to re-evaluate what in life truly makes you happy.
The Career Path
If you chose a career, make sure you are good at it and you enjoy it. A career should be something that fulfills you and gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride. That way, if you spend long days and nights grinding toward your goals, it's not a waste. There is nothing worse in life than being a slave to your job and missing out on your family, your kids growing up and having fun, for nothing more than a minimal pay raise at the end of the year (if that.) A career is your mark on the world, what you do should count for something.
The Job Path
This path is for people who's joy does not come from work, but perhaps a hobby, activity or lifestyle outside of work. The artists, the sports ballers (who aren't pro), the ski bums and such who don't make enough money to live off what they do should simply have jobs. Jobs aren't a bad thing, and having one doesn't mean you gave up or didn't dream big enough. It simply means you found something to get paid for, so you can spend your off time doing what you love. A job is a job. You do it, get paid, and go home to where it doesn't bother you. You shouldn't hate it, by any means, but you don't have to love it. The job is simply how we pay our dues.
All my friends tell me I should totally get paid to do this.
Where people fuck it all up
The artist who thinks their art can pay the bills: They have no direction, they just hope that someone is going to hand them thousands of dollars for their brilliant doodle or their obtuse screenplay. They refuse to "sell out." Y'all need a JOB, so you can afford your next installation piece or enough ramen noodles to fuel your next interpretive dance sesh.
"Entrepreneurs" who are hustling 300 ideas, but going nowhere: They don't have the follow-through or work ethic to make it a reality. You need a JOB, until you can figure out what role you can legitimately play in an actual company. Everyone is tired of paying for your drinks, hot shot.
Burned-out suits: They are too afraid to make a lifestyle change or take a pay decrease. You need a JOB or a NEW CAREER, because being miserable isn't worth the giant house that you only sleep in.
People who are in shit jobs who "don't have time" for their dreams: They have these great ideas and drive to make something worth making, but they let some banal bullshit take precedence. You need a CAREER. Surround yourself with smart people who believe in you and make that shit come true.
Moms who fear they can't get back into the workforce too seriously once their kids go off to school: You aren't relegated to an MLM or being a Lyft driver. You totally have time for a CAREER if you demand a supportive environment from your family.
Basically any time you feel really held back by your job or stressed out by an unfulfilling career, you should think about switching. If what you love to do lies in your leisure zone, get a job. If what you love to do is something that already exists or is truly marketable - have a career.