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Why Passion Won't Pay The Bills All The Time

“When you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.”

It's the old adage that has come to symbolize the dream many people hope to achieve. Besides, who, after going through the stresses of continuous classes for the best part of 21 years, wouldn't want to search for a job that they enjoy so much that they wouldn't really be “working” — especially if you can get money out of it.

And there are definitely stories out there to reinforce the belief in that dream. Just consider Dana Elemara, who dropped out. Not from college, but from an already well-paying job to embark on a journey in search of something more fulfilling. She founded her company, Arganic, and has since, like other successful entrepreneurs, encouraged others to follow their passions and make a business out of something they love.

But with every success story, it's impossible to ignore the tales of failure, because they really are out there.

“As someone who has tried living as a starving artist, I can attest that there's nothing romantic or noble about being impoverished in pursuit of doing what you love,” wrote Carl McCoy for the Wall Street Journal. “When you're working two or three jobs, and you can't pay your bills, it doesn't matter how much you love any of them. You just get worn out.”

McCoy's detailed account should throw the question out there. Do you go for passion or for practicality? It can be a hard decision to make, especially when you consider the rationale on both sides.

On one hand, you have polls being taken to show just how many Americans hate their jobs, and in the worst cases, people go into their offices every morning, preparing for misery. On the other hand, another question must be asked. Is there really room for nitpicking about the different levels of enjoyment different careers offer when there are bills to pay, families to support and debts to be satisfied? Author Penelope Trunk doesn't think so.

“Career decisions are not decisions about ‘what do I love most?'” Trunk said on her site. “Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself?”

Trunk delivers the hard truth. No matter what we love, everyone has the responsibility, and incentive, to solidify a good future for themselves. And because of that responsibility, which has to come as a priority when choosing a career, a re-evalautation of the “do what you love mantra” is needed and Inc. writer Jeff Haden may just have a handle on it.

“Will people pay you for it? Will people pay you a lot for it? A passion people won't pay you for is hardly the basis for a career,” he says. “It's a hobby. You can still love your hobbies — just love them in your spare time. The key as an entrepreneur is to identify a relevant passion.”

Aiming to do something you enjoy for the rest of your life isn't the worst idea in the world, but it's important to, above all else, have a plan. Choosing a career that you find fulfilling and that gives you a sense of purpose while also providing you the opportunity to make money at different levels — which, let's face it, is the key of all keys — without having to become world renowned is probably the happy medium.

In the end, the task of choosing the right job and not the most romantic might just be where most emphasis has to be placed. The job that allows you to support yourself and those you care about, the job that allows you to have the time to enjoy what you should love most: life. Perhaps work shouldn't have to be our main source of joy.

“Relationships make your life great, not jobs… Doing what you love will make you feel fulfilled. But you don't need to get paid for it,” said Trunk, who is the founder of three startups.

“Your next step is to focus on social relationships,” she writes in another blog, “because in terms of happiness, job satisfaction is very important but social relationships are most important.”

The general lessons that can be taken from the richest of success stories — lessons on being able to bounce back from hard times and knowing your self-worth — are all undoubtedly important. It's the reason that we here at Elite Daily write so many of them. But what must be accepted is that many of our greatest role-models are special cases, and most of their motivation stemmed from extraordinary cases.

Nick Woodman was driven to start GoPro by his immense failure with two companies. Mark Cuban was driven to entrepreneurship by bosses who didn't appreciate his great work ethic. Those who work tirelessly to achieve crazy heights with their work on their terms are worthy of note, but even if you don't mirror that success, a chance at a narrative that's just as good is possible.

Find work that gives you a sense of purpose and can be profited on, strike the right balance between work and life, and the question of being able to do what you love may not have to be answered through your job.

Photo via Tumblr 

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Joseph Milord

Editor

Joseph is a Senior Writer, Editor and early member of the Elite Daily team. He studied Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University and will probably call Jersey home forever.
Joseph is a Senior Writer, Editor and early member of the Elite Daily team. He studied Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University and will probably call Jersey home forever.

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