Follow your passion and earn or build a career just for earning? What should you run after in the career vs passion dilemma.
The oft-quoted cliche of ‘follow your passion and you will not have to work for even a day of your life’ sounds good, but as in all such things, the reality bites.
The reality is that in most cases following your passion does not bring food to the table, so as one realist has put it; “the majority of people do what they have to do to bring the bacon in”.
The question of following your passion or career-building is an existential question. Some lucky ones; albeit mostly in the creative field (that includes the researchers, inventors and scientists) do find the answer, the rest of humanity does what it is skilled to do or has to do, or is prepared to do.
This is not to say that passion and career building are exclusive to each other.
“To truly reach your potential, you need to identify your passions and talents and create ways to utilize them each day,” said Heather Monahan, founder of #BossinHeels, a career mentoring group. “If anything is important enough to you, you will find a way to make time for it.”
Passion vs. Career
Being passionate about your work does not necessarily bring happiness. What it does do is give you an avenue to keep engaged and be a better performer.
Richard Harbridge, chief technology officer at 2toLead says, “At its best, passion is rewarding and can make us more important and enthusiastic about our work.” But because passion and happiness don’t necessarily go hand in hand, and if you find yourself miserable at work, even if it’s work you’re passionate about, you can opt-out, change jobs or profession too.
There is motivation to perform better if you are passionate about your job. That brings with it more opportunities for growth. In most cases, if you are happy in your work, you tend to enjoy your work environment too. Chances are that your coworkers will be like-minded, and you’ll have fun interacting with them. There is pleasure in working in a place where your passion coincides with the work product.
Fulfillment—people lucky enough to find a job they are inclined to and are passionate about, feel more contented and fulfilled.
If you follow your passion it does not necessarily mean that it will be lucrative. According to Forbes, when we tell people to follow their passion, we assume they have one, which is not always the case.
People sometimes decide to follow their passion and down the line discover that it was just a passing interest and now their desires and interests have changed.
Most people are young and naive when they decide to follow their heart’s desire in their career choices.
Whether you choose to chase your dreams or focus on a career-relevant to today’s market, there are some disadvantages of doing what you love.
Many times your passion can change into a job. Interests change, desire wanes and the horizon widens. What you thought was your calling is now almost a burden.
Your dream job may not be compatible with the market. Sure, there are some lucky few who earn well in their passionate following, but more times than not, people have passions that either don’t pay well or the industry is too big to penetrate, which can be problematic and discourage them from pursuing it.
No doubt pursuing your dream job can be emotionally satisfying, but if it does not pay the bills, then it is prudent to postpone the passion and make good with the money-making gig.
There are arguments that money cannot buy you happiness, but the other side is that it sure brings in the comfort where you can wallow in your unhappiness.
Both sides of the coins have a positive and a negative. So what is the answer?
Maybe a pinch of reality and passion is the unwire. Before diving into a passionate project, delve into its earning potential. There are times when passion and money are served on the same menu.
But there are times when you need to keep your passion aside and earn enough to be able to pursue it.
It can be also a good mixture of the two. Earn a living, but find the time to pursue your passion. Take time out to pursue it as an outside interest or hobby.
A whole lot depends on what you want from life. You want a comfortable life while following your passion, or the passion is all-consuming and your very being is defined by it then feel free to pursue it.