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What's love got to do with it?


En español | When it comes to your job, is love everything, nothing, or something in between? In recent years, “Do what you love” and “Love what you do” have become familiar mantras for everyone from millennials to boomers. And a 2013 study found that finding meaning and personal satisfaction in work can result in higher productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction and less absenteeism and turnover.1

But is doing what you love the key to achieving overall quality of life, and is it the only factor you should consider when choosing a career or contemplating a career change?

Career Relationship Quiz

Take this quiz to help you identify what might be your ideal “relationship” with a particular job or career path.

Simply rate each of the statements on a scale of 1–5 (with 5 being “extremely important,” and 1 being “not important”).


Working as part of a team requiring ongoing collaboration.


Working for a company that holds many parties and events.


Having the opportunity to be “in the field” and travel for work.


Forming relationships with clients and/or vendors.


Total: _______

Achieving tenure and stability in your career.


Working in a commission-based job where earning potential is unlimited.


Being eligible for regular and substantial pay increases.


Generous company benefits and “perks” such as sports tickets or access to a company car.


Total: _______

Working in a creative field or being able to express creativity at work.


Feeling as if your work benefits or influences others in a meaningful way.


Being allowed to contribute your unique talents.


Being your own boss and choosing what projects you work on.


Total: _______

Being able to work autonomously.


Being asked for your opinion about important company matters.


Having the chance to excel and achieve a management position.


Speaking at conferences or mentoring more junior team members.


Total: _______

If your highest score is in the BLUE category...

You’re a social butterfly who appreciates a job that encourages relationship building with co-workers and customers while allowing you to meet many types of people during company travel. While not related to a specific talent or passion, you’ll be doing what you love if you’re surrounded by folks to do it with — the more the merrier!

If your highest score is in the GREEN category...

While you may have passions to pursue, money talks and you listen. You want to feel comfortable financially and be able to enjoy a stable career with significant upside potential. Unless your personal passions fit into that equation, you might feel happiest taking part in those activities during your leisure time, rather than sacrificing financially to do what you love at work.

If your highest score is in the RED category...

“Do what you love” really is your mantra. Your answers indicate that creativity and meaning truly matter to you. You require a high level of personal satisfaction with your job and need the freedom to pursue it.

If your highest score is in the YELLOW category...

Some people are born leaders! Your answers show you to be less interested in the type of work you do and more interested in the management of people and processes. On your way to the top, you’ll have a chance to teach and mentor, both of which may qualify as “do what you love” activities.

If you have a tie...

Scoring similarly or very high in two or more categories doesn’t mean you have a split personality! But it could indicate that you need to strike a balance when embarking on a career. For example, if you scored similarly in the RED and GREEN categories, you may want to consider a field that both pays well and brings a high level of personal satisfaction.

Quiz results are not scientific.

Top five jobs for high pay and high satisfaction2

Nonprofit Organization President

Median annual pay: $89,500

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

Steve Jobs, 2005 Stanford University commencement speech

Nurse Anesthetist

Median annual pay: $152,000

High School Principal

Median annual pay: $82,200

Interior Design Director

Median annual pay: $79,300

Accounting Firm Partner

Median annual pay: $164,000

When it comes to the importance of doing what you love at work, our quiz shows that it’s a very personal matter. But there’s no need to sacrifice your interests and dreams even if they don’t fit into your work scenario, as work can have meanings as diverse as creating financial security, making friends and serving others. Knowing what matters most to you is the key to finding a fulfilling and successful career.

Learn more and take action

Is work working for you? Whether you’re just starting out or thinking about a second career, many decisions lie ahead. Read more articles on the Merrill Lynch Life Priority, “Work.”

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1 The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders, Gallup, Inc., 2013.

2 Source:

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