How many times have you heard the exhortation to “follow your passion” in your career choice? It’s become an entirely overused mantra parroted by the numerous self-help and business gurus who themselves probably command about 30K a speech. That’s not a bad “passion” to follow but let’s just face the economic facts in 2015:
Following your passion is awful personal—and business—advice.
The truth is, you should follow the money if you’re in business. That is what being “in business” is all about: providing a service, set of skills or product in a marketplace that pays, if not well, then hopefully adequately for them. If you happen to be passionate about what you do, that’s great. But, increasingly today, that combination of passion and paying the bills is not one that most of us have.
And that’s okay.
Look, I’m passionate about a lot of things: running, music, writing for my children. But the reality is I will never make a damn dime from those passions (except, possibly and theoretically from the writing). It would be total financial malfescense if I decided to devote all of my time and energy to running, say, over working in a job that pays the bills. It would irresponsible and unacceptable—and yet many high-profile figures are encouraging people to act in just that way though their nebulous pitches that are far from grounded in the realities of 2015.
Not everyone can, will or even should love their job. Not these days, anyway. Most of us are in a situation that we have to do what we have to do. The passions you do have should be explored and played with AFTER work hours not necessarily FOR work hours.
It’s a great advantage if you happen to be passionate about your work—I am pretty passionate about mine. But too often I think the “promoters of the passion” types are trying to reverse cause and effect: they are teaching that if one is passionate enough about something then the money will follow. I’ve even heard such said explicitly. And it’s simply not true. If anything, one has to have resources and money from a job that they may or may not like in order TO follow their passions.
Anybody working today is fortunate. It may not be your dream job but at least you’re not in the unemployment line. If you can try to find passion in the current job you do by digging a little deeper into your profession or changing your attitude about it then, by all means, do so. For most of us, though, “passion” and “job” today are just not synonymous.
And that’s okay, contrary to the motivational speakers’ opinions.
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