The first job I ever did out of college was awful. I quit after 3 months. The thing is, if I had stayed, gotten a handful of promotions over the years, I’d have a couple of million dollars in a 401K now. It was a fortune 500 company, not one of the terribly ethical one’s either, but it payed well and had a fantastic 401K match. I wouldn’t be able to retire but I’d be able to take a job that I wanted as long as it had benefits.
And, I’d have spent 30 years of misery in a job.
Now, I work in government, pretty much the same deal as the first job, a bit more interesting, and while I won’t retire with that much money, I’ll have a decent pension. I just gotta stick it out a bit longer and the end is visible, although not here, yet.
My job, now, isn’t too bad. I can live with it. It was pretty awful for the first two years though. And that’s kind of the deal, if you can detach from the job, treat it as a job, and it checks other boxes, then why not do it? If something is fun, really fun, people wind up doing it on the cheap, and the other boxes don’t get checked.
I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this unless you are pretty gifted and get lucky enough to find the right niche. I like the idea of “follow your bliss” I just never figured out how to do that.