I’m always fascinated by the discussion of trying to figure out if you want to follow your passion or earning potential in your career. This is not an easy choice and we all struggle with it in varying degrees. The real challenge it seems for many is that there’s not good alignment between passion and earning potential.
On the side of passion people usually argue that life is too short to work a job that you hate. Or they say that you spend too much time at work to not be doing something that you’re passionate about. These are all worthy of consideration and reasons why someone should quit a job with high earning potential in order to chase a job they’re passionate about, but which may have less earning potential.
Most people also go on to argue that earning potential often follows passion. That can often be the case because when you’re passionate about it you work harder and will become a true expert at that thing. Experts generally get paid more for their work.
On the side of earning potential, people argue that if you take the job with great earning potential, then you can work for a shorter number of years and then leave the job and have the freedom to work on anything you want. Plus, there’s some value in pushing through work that is challenging and will stretch you. In fact, you might discover a passion you didn’t know about by doing so. If not, you’ll at least have learned from a bad job what you’re really passionate about.
The best situation is to cultivate the ability to find passion in anything. Far too often we think of passion as something you either have or don’t. I’ve found that the right mentality can help you cultivate a passion in almost anything. Passion can be cultivated.
The reality is that every job has goods and bads. Even a job that you’re passionate about doing will have some elements of it that you don’t enjoy. Plus, we can fall out of passion with a job we were previously passionate about. That’s why it’s so important that you learn to cultivate passion in what you’re doing as your career progresses.
There’s no right answer to the balance of passion and earning potential in your career. However, the best answer is that word: balance. Don’t accept an awful job that will make you miserable and has low quality goals. However, don’t wait for the job that perfectly aligns with your passions either. Somewhere in the middle is probably right. Then, cultivate your passions so that you can have fun doing any job you’re given.