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How do you reconcile between following your passion and choosing a career that can support you financially?

Hello! I am a recent college graduate (got my BA), and I've been recently doing some deep soul searching in terms of life purpose and mission. There is a part of me that wants to go straight for things that I'm interested in but at the same time, I do want to be practical and be in a financially sound position (I'd like to say lucrative too). To take things in another perspective, I don't want to wake up one day and regret that I wasted a number of years in an occupation that I didn't fully enjoy. The things I'm interested in are not what you consider financially sound (my interests are more towards the arts). I'd like to hear other people's advice and perspectives on this. I hope this is good enough information, and I apologize if my descriptions are not exactly clear. Thank you! career career-counseling career-development life-coach personal-development

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Jessica’s Answer

That is a hard question to answer because it is different for each person. It really depends on where you are and what you are looking for out of a career. Most career paths are constantly changing as each position leads you down a different route. I am a firm believer in having a progression of experience in a field and following your passion. Yes, money is good, but what does it really mean if you dread going to work every day and have NOTHING to look forward to? I started in one place after graduating college and thought that is the path I would stay on, but that has not been the case. I am still in the profession of helping others reach their potential, but not in the realm I thought I would be. Each experience has lead me to where I am and I am appreciative. My advice is to follow your passion and do not be afraid to take chances on various opportunities. You might think you know what you want out of a career, but different experiences might help to harbor it. Good luck with everything!

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Gerard’s Answer

As you can tell by the responses above, this is not a black & white issue. I personally believe that both can be obtained with a little extra effort. Without going into too much detail, true success (both personally and financially) cannot be obtained without passion. Passion not only provides emotional gratification with your career efforts, but fuels the required extra effort to succeed in your chosen endeavors.
The two people quoted below, are proponents of pursuing your passion. BTW, both did not do bad financially either. :)

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do” ~ Steve Jobs
“What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

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Kim’s Answer

I think a lot has to do with distinguishing between "wants" and "needs" and not falling for the mass marketing that makes us think we need certain things that we really don't.
I think I would focus on learning sound financial management skills, which will carry you far no matter which path you choose! For example, I am 55 years old, have only ever owned 4 cars, and none of them were purchased new. You learn to look for bargains, and make trade-offs. Another example: if somebody truly wants a degree, they might take a job in a hospital mopping floors, because that job comes with tuition assistance. Conversely, if you want the "lucrative" lifestyle, it might mean working at a job you are not crazy about. OR, it might not! There is sometimes good money in art!

You will want to learn about savings, investments, short term goals, emergency funds, proper use of credit, etc. It is all possible on a working-class income. It just takes determination. You start out small and work up!

All these pieces will come together for you in time. Keep researching! Keep asking questions!

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Brian’s Answer


My suggestion would be to try to find something in the middle where you get both a good paying job and job that you can enjoy. It is tough to find one that you just absolutely love that the pay is lucrative. But I think you can find happy medium where the pay is satisfactory and you can still live a good and respectable life financially.

In my line of work I am an Underwriting Standards Specialist. It is very demanding job and stressful; however, it is very rewarding. The pay is what I would consider above average and you can make a good living with it. When someone is applying for a mortgage loan, I basically go thru their life story and review all of their bank statements, tax returns, w2s, paystubs, credit history and look at the appraisal on their home. It is a lot of paperwork to review but it is very rewarding to help someone find their dream home. So my suggestion is try to find that mix of something you love and that is rewarding that you make a difference in. Good luck!

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