Follow your passion, or be practical?

Yesterday, I had lunch with a freelance writing group I joined recently, and the conversation turned to young people entering journalism school. What kind of future will they have? Are there jobs for them? Do cutbacks in media mean that only those with a *passion* for journalism are pursuing it as a career?

Does it even make sense to pursue a career if the odds of success are iffy? Aspiring actors face the same question, someone noted. And yet, I think we all agreed that without pursuing the passion in the first place, there’s no chance of success at all.

By coincidence, this LinkedIn article (“Do What You Love” Is Horrible Advice) appeared in my inbox this morning.

The subject was on my mind because of yesterday, but the article also captured my attention because “Do What You Love” is the advice my parents gave me many years ago. Not to mention that, at the time, I didn’t think it was very good advice.

As a young adult trying to figure out my direction in life, I was envious of friends whose parents were more practical, steering them toward careers where jobs were abundant.

It wasn’t until a few years after graduating from university that I discovered I had an aptitude for writing and journalism, and a passion for it too. Lucky me!

I believe there’s satisfaction in a job well done, even if it’s not your passion. I also believe that what you’re passionate about should be part of your life, even if it’s not how you make your living.

But if there’s a chance to turn your passion into a career… why not dream big? Maybe things will work out. If not, then you can go to Plan B.

What do you think? Follow your passion, or be practical?



2 thoughts on “Follow your passion, or be practical?

  1. I followed my passion (editing, writing) and I would advise anyone who asked me to do the same. Although I haven’t exactly become wealthy following my passion, I don’t regret it. I may have received better pay in another field, but don’t think I would have been as happy. Money after all doesn’t bring happiness, though there is something to be said for having money.

  2. I suffered from the same dilemma. When IT jobs got scarce I thought, “Oh, that I would have studied pharmacy like my father suggested, I would call my own shots.” But dad hated being a pharmacist, and I thought I would too. Here’s my personal bottom line; if I had kids, I would tell them to pursue the practical and use it to support yourself while you develop your passion.

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