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How do you know if it would be better to choose a career you enjoy over a career that makes money?

Should I choose to major in something I enjoy doing or if I should choose a major that leads to a career that pays well?

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From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

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9 answers


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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. This is a common question to many students. Imagine that you have to work on a job for 8-10 hours everyday and 5-6 days a week. It is really a pain if you have no interest on the job at all. Also, if you do the job good, you can success and make good money regardless of the industry or career. If you have no interest, I don't really think that you would do the job good.
Below is my suggestions :
1. Think about your hobbies, your favorite subjects, etc. and identify the related careers.
E.g. If you are interested in Maths, would you like to be an accountant, an engineer, banker, financial analyst, maths teacher, etc.
If you are interested in Music, would you like to be a musician, composer, singer, music producer, music teacher, etc.
2. Find out more in these careers and identify the careers that you have interest
3. Speak to someone working in these careers. Seek guidance from your mentor, school counselor, your parents, etc.
4. Shortlist 1-2 careers your would like pursue
5. Explore the entry criteria of the relevant subjects in the college
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
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Atul’s Answer

You have to answer this question - if I enjoy what I do, can I put food on the table.
For instance: some people are good at Basketball and enjoy playing but only 1% of NCAA Basketball players make it to the NBA.
Net: keep Basketball has a hobby - play, enjoy the sport but find a profession that puts food on the table.

I hope above illustration helps you decide.

Fyi - my son is a very good golfer and scores in double digits (most amateur players score in 100s) but he plays for fun and never thought of making a life out of it.
Now he is a successful professional earning more than enough to put food on the table and plays golf all around the country for fun.
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Jennifer’s Answer

This is a GREAT question! I think there should be a balance. You definitely shouldn't choose a major you hate just because you think it will pay well later. Ultimately, we do well at the things we enjoy and if you hate what you major in, you will be miserable and you may not do as well anyway. But there are also some activities that are enjoyable but are better left as hobbies. I would encourage you to start with what you like AND where your strengths are. Also, don't underestimate the importance of finding an internship or part-time job that has to do with your major so that you can "try it on" in a real-world setting to see if it's something that feels right for you.

In my own experience, I majored in Psychology and had an internship at the nearby medical university during which I realized that clinical psychology was not going to be enjoyable for me. So after college, I got an administrative position and obtained my MBA during a part-time program (pursuing a graduate degree that interested me as well). Psychology was helpful for me because it related to the Organizational Behavior classes I took in my MBA program and now it is ultimately helpful for me in my role as a Team Coach. Basically, I pursued majors that interested me, but could be broad and related to many different career choices. Once I got into the work force, I just kept doing my best at the things I liked and was good at and that's what got me promoted to higher positions.

It can be overwhelming to try to make these life decisions right now, but don't worry, you're not alone! MOST people have gone through uncertainty and had to try different majors or careers before finding the right fit. That's why I'll come back to it's important to pursue the things you are interested in. Hope that helps a bit and encourages you.
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Yhahira! I think that it really depends on what is it that you value the most but it is possible to do both. I personally think that you should balance both - believe it or not, it is possible to find a career that you enjoy and makes money but it is tricky to find that. It is important that you are able to "pay your bills" and cover your expenses necessary to not be stressed all the time about money. At the same time, you don't want to choose a career that makes money but you absolutely hate because you will be miserable in the long run, dreading to work. Ideally you can find something in the middle - something that you enjoy and are good at and provides enough that money isn't a constant stress.

Also, keep in mind that you can always do the things you are passionate about as a hobby or volunteer while having a career that might not be aligned. Just make sure you don't hate what you do because it won't "pay off" if you are miserable every day.
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Gabriela’s Answer

Because overtime you eventually get bored or frustrated. When you work on something you enjoy money just comes easier in many different ways.

Gabriela recommends the following next steps:

Do you see yourself doing that job long enough?
What is your career based on
Can anyone give you more feedback on the position?
Be open minded of other opportunities
Any other related fields that might pay more?
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Gabriela’s Answer

Because overtime you eventually get bored or frustrated. When you work on something you enjoy money just comes easier in many different ways.

Gabriela recommends the following next steps:

Do you see yourself doing that job long enough?
What is your career based on
Can anyone give you more feedback on the position?
Be open minded of other opportunities
Any other related fields that might pay more?
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Limin’s Answer

I would suggest you pursue your passion. If you are very good at it, and enjoy doing it, then you will be happy with your job, your life. Money will come with your career success too.

also: money is not everything, though you can't live without money either, so finding the right balance is also critical
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Lauren’s Answer

I want to start by reassuring the writer that this is a question most people have at some point in their life. I would say it truly depends on your personal circumstance, however the best piece of advice I could give you is to think about yourself 10 years from now. Whatever road you choose to take, how will you be impacted by that choice in 10 years from now.

Have forethought when making your choices and understand what your personal values in order to answer this question.
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Pamela’s Answer

Understand your personal value and be intent, always choose to do something you enjoy and if it makes you happy doing it, you will probably exceed and do very well at it. On the contrary, making a lot of money can buy many things you like, and make you live a better life, but it doesn't mean you will live a happier life.
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