Chase Your Passion — Not the Money.


Here’s your fair warning: I’m about to go on a rant. Don’t worry — it isn’t a frivolous rant, I promise it’s a meaningful one.

So let’s cut to the chase. It makes me incredibly sad to hear people say, “I only chose to go into my field for the money.” Or, “I’m not really happy with my job, but I make good money.”

As a recent graduate trying to navigate the waters as a young adult, I thoroughly understand how intimidating it is to lose your job or financial security. This economy is tough, and that’s why Americans are hesitant to quit their jobs, regardless of how unhappy they may be.

With that said, let’s be clear.

By making the statement above, I am in no way attempting to negate the importance of making substantial money to support yourself and your family. I understand how important that is. I am, instead, attempting to call out the simple reason behind many Americans’ career decisions: money, and money alone.

While making a commencement speech in 2009, actor and director Edward James Olmos said:

Chase your passion, not your pension. Be inspired to learn as much as you can, to find a cause that benefits humankind — and you’ll be sought after for your quality of service and dedication to excellence. This passion will make you oblivious of quitting time and to the length of your workday. You’ll awake every morning with the passion of pursuit, but not the pursuit of money.

I live by this. After all, what’s a career without passion? Without passion, what do you look forward to each day? How do you find inspiration and motivation that actually lasts, carrying you through even the toughest spots in your career?

Yes, money should be a factor in each of your career decisions. But if passion is missing from the equation, I don’t believe you’ll ever reach your full career potential — no matter how much money you make. Umair Haque said it best in his Harvard Business Review blog post: “It’s one thing to work on stuff that seems sexy because it’s socially cool and financially rewarding. But fulfillment doesn’t come much from money or cool-power — all the money in the world can’t buy you a searing sense of accomplishment.”

I hope you’ll take a second today to ponder all of this. If you can’t build your career completely around your passion, then maybe you can find a way to weave your passion into an aspect of your daily job, on a smaller scale. It will make a monumental difference.

Feel free to leave a comment to share what you think about working your passion into your career. I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts!

photo credit: Meyer Felix via photopin cc

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3 thoughts on “Chase Your Passion — Not the Money.

  1. tatiana says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this post! I have noticed (in me, and in others) that passion directly correlates with performance. The people who are really into the work they’re doing are the ones who do the best work. When I’m doing work that I’m less than enthused about, it’s never as good as I’m capable of.

    • Desiree Mahr says:

      Same here, Tat. That’s why I feel so strongly about telling people to do what they love — money should not be the only factor in the equation.

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