Passion or Pay: What Should You Base Your Career Choice On?

Oct 6, 2015 | 8:16 pm

Online Ed here again to discuss one of the age old questions: how do you choose between doing work you are passionate about and earning a good living? Obviously, some people will tell you yes and others will tell you no. Some people will tell you “Money doesn’t buy happiness but it can buy you a boat–have you ever seen someone sad on a boat?” and others will say “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.“ While both passion and pay are not mutually exclusive, I’m here to make a case for both and decide on a potential verdict.

For this deliberation, we’re going to ignore the professions of the professional sports and entertainment industry–the professional athletes, musicians, celebrities, and comedians just to name a few. If you are fortunate enough to be in the top-tier of talent in those industries or another industry where the lifestyle is as rewarding as the paychecks, then congratulations and keep up the good work! I am here to make the case for the Average Joe.

The Case for Passion

Waking up every morning and doing a job you’re passionate about is a feeling not many individuals have, but for those who are familiar, it is an experience like none other. A job that you love will get you excited to go to work, give you satisfaction every day and instill a sense of pride. For most, starting a new job often begins with a feeling of excitement matched with delight for earning your paycheck. As the days go on and the job becomes more routine, however, what was once exhilarating becomes mundane. Those who are truly passionate about their work, however, won’t experience this. The job will remain fulfilling and waking up every morning with a sense of dread will be mostly non-existent.

The Case for Pay

In today’s economy, money matters. Many individuals desire the luxurious lifestyle filled with traveling, eating delicious and exotic food and a lot of retail therapy, but this is unrealistic and the majority of jobs will not be able to meet these expectations. A job that guarantees money (but not boat loads of it) will keep you living comfortably, give you assurance in paying bills and provide enough for your family’s needs; any leftovers can be used towards those luxury expenses you may have your eye on.

What’s the Verdict?

The ideal situation is the right job at the right price; a job that you both love and get a great paycheck for–that’s the real American dream. But given the context of this post, I believe the right choice is passion. Most of the highest paying jobs in this country demand an intense level of commitment in not only education but also time, and time is just as valuable as money. Being able to work a job that allows you to see your loved ones, be socially active and allow time for you to mentally recuperate should trump a job that calls for you to spend most of your time either at the office or working around the clock. Don’t get me wrong–a career choice like being a doctor can be both fulfilling and rewarding financially and emotionally, but these type of occupations are not for the majority. While an imperfect job may be inevitable for some, as long as you can see past the perception of having to making a lot of money and just go for what you’re passionate about, oftentimes the money (and things worth more than their value in dollars) will find it’s way to you–and then you can finally buy that boat.