4 answers

When choosing what you want to do, is a stable income more important than chasing after what you actually want to do?

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All my life, I was constantly encouraged to follow the path of becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. I never felt queasy at the sight of blood, I find the heart to be the most interesting organ in the body, and I even would watch surgery videos on YouTube from Mayo Clinic. Although this may have seemed as an ideal option for me because I can help others and have a stable income, reality struck me. I researched how many years it takes and how much of one's life must be put into the work to be successful. I don't feel that I am passionate enough to dedicate my life to surgery. Also, I realized how much I don't really enjoy my math and science classes. I always wanted to do something in the writing industry, history, or have a job that allows me to travel/explore. My family is concerned that if I follow my heart, I will not be able to sustain myself. What is more valuable? Can there realistically be both? #career #medicine #career-counseling #career-choice #career-path #travel #career-change #job-search-strategies

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4 answers

Debra’s Answer

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Yes - it's possible to follow your heart and still make a living :).... but of course, this depends on you and your priorities. Some people consider working on Education "not making a living"..
If you're not good at math and science and don't like it - it seems becoming a surgeon is not a good choice. If you like to write and are good at it - there are hundreds of different occupations where you can use that skill. The intersection of dreams and reality is one that all of us have to deal with and make decisions about. But doing your homework about different career options and career outlooks is a smart thing for anyone to do. So keep an open mind, research different career possibilities based on YOUR strengths and desires... do volunteer work and internships to see what those careers/occupations are REALLY like. Make an INFORMED decision. And don't think the decision you make on one day will be what you do for the rest of your life! Most of us change jobs/careers several times over the course of our lives. A career decision today is not necessarily a finite decision for the rest of your life.

Thank you so much for your input! As a high school student, the obscurity of the future and making the right choices is extremely intense. Do you know of any other ways other than interning/volunteering to help make a better informed decision? Once again, thank you so much for your time and response. Daniella F.
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Dennis’s Answer

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Yes, it is possible to follow your heart and be financially secure. My early experience was to hold down a secure job, as a social worker with civil service benefits for a decade, while developing the career I really wanted by freelancing as an editorial photographer on the side. It did take some juggling for a while to do magazine assignments that didn't conflict with my regular work hours, however, but generous vacation benefits permitted annual foreign trips to allow developing a specialty as a travel photographer. I expect it would be easier to do this as a freelance writer, which I have also done occasionally, as the hours to write would be more flexible.


As a writer you could incorporate your interest in history and travel while you research your writings. I have several travel writer friends and unfortunately payment for articles and publishing venues are in sharp decline. Nevertheless, there are a few prolific writers who do very well, especially those who think outside the box. I would suggest you study the writers who do full-length books such as Bill Bryson, Simon Winchester, Paul Theroux, and Pico Iyer. Also, alternatively, you might try the direction my sister-in-law, Lynda J. Cox, has taken as the writer of Western romance novels while teaching university classes in creative writing.


Many people will tell you to be realistic and settle for security. But without risk there is no reward. Aspire, aim high, and persevere.


Cheers.

Thank you so much for your response! I genuinely am inspired by your story. The difference between artists and other people are that artists don't give up on their craft because many creators give up. I find it amazing how you kept your craft and built on it. I'll definitely try to do the same! Also, I would love to see the work you have made. I consider myself a photography junkie. Again, thank you so much for your time! Daniella F.
I'd be pleased to have you view my photography, Daniella. Go to www.DennisCox.com where there are links to my stock photography (@AGPix.com), prints (@FineArtAmerica.com), and custom fashion designs (@ShopVIDA.com). Dennis Cox
Your photos are amazing! I especially enjoyed the stock photography of China. I'll definitely be watching for more photos. I would love to keep in touch because your story and photography are really inspiring. Again, I'm genuinely thankful for your response. Thank you! Daniella F.
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Wayne’s Answer

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Daniella, you ask some very tough questions but it is good to see that you are not afraid to ask for advice. The medical field is a tough one and a person must have a true desire and the dedication to be successful. You lay two paths on the table for discussion and you appear to be dissecting each one (sorry for the medical analogy). First, you want financial security, or at least your family wants that for you. You must ask yourself if this is truly one of your desires or is it something that is being assumed for you? Financial security comes in many forms. Just enough to pay the bills but happy doing your job, or having a lot of money so you don't have to worry about it. What is important to you? My daughter went into private practice as a GP and struggles each month to make the bills because she chose to serve the less fortunate and those with little to no insurance. She ends up not collecting on a lot of what she does, but she loves her job because she feels she is helping others and gets satisfaction from doing it. Is your passion truly in medicine or in writing? If it is in writing, there are areas of the medical industry that need good writers/editors. I have relatives that make a good living writing although they like to stay home instead of travel. I went to High School with a person who made a very successful career writing for a petroleum company and travels all over the world. It should not be pre-assumed that a writing career cannot be successful. There are many options out there so find the one that fits you. Keep asking the questions and good luck!

Thank you so much for your thoughtful response! I never really thought about a compromise. My thought process didn't allow both something I enjoy while having stability. Also, thank you for making me realize the reality of financial ideals. After high school, I plan to be as independent as possible, and I don't need to necessarily live a comfortable life but I need enough to pay the bills. Also, kudos to your daughter for not only following a passion but helping people who are less fortunate. I find that genuinely inspiring as I also want to strive to help others. I'm truly grateful for your response. Happy New Years!! Daniella F.
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Ken’s Answer

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The goal in life is to find a career that is something that you look forward to everyday and find fulfilling and rewarding.
During this holiday season while people are in a festive and helpful mood it Is a great time to talk to people about your dreams and desires and see what they might have to suggest and who they might think you could talk to to get more Info
The key to life is being true to yourself.
Best of luck. Keep me posted.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer! Daniella F.
Start talking to people as often as you can during this holiday seadon. Help will come unexpectedly and possibly from surprising sources. Ken Simmons
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