Johnny and I are all about maximizing our savings, being financially prepared, and doing everything we can to make a few extra cents. So because of our mindset toward money, one would assume that we would have chosen careers that maximized our cash flow. Right?
But we didn’t. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most people care about having money. As bright-eyed-bushy-tailed 18-year-olds deciding what path to take in life, the majority of us imagined our futures as ones where we’d be financially free. But then it came time to choosing a major and a career, and we had a choice: passion or pay?
Some chose a career based 100% on passion. Others, based 100% on pay. I knew some of both of these extremes during my college days. And then the rest of us made a choice that took both passion and pay into account.
I would say Johnny and I both mostly fell into the “passion” bucket of people. I’m very visual, and that sentence caused me to imagine a bunch of tiny people falling into a ginormous bucket. Anyone else? ……[crickets]…… Anywho, Johnny chose Advertising because he’s passionate about creating. If he can create something that makes a person reconsider a long-held notion or that causes someone to laugh out loud during an otherwise mundane day, he’s one happy man. I chose Editing because I’m passionate about marking things up and telling people they’re wrong! Just kidding. Grammar was just always my thang. It got me, I got it, etc. — which is another way of saying, “I’ve always been a nerd.”
And like most youngin’s, we believed that if we were passionate enough, the money would come rolling in. Well, maybe not rolling in, but we believed what every adult had ever told us: “If you’re passionate enough, you can be successful at anything!”
But then you become an adult, and reality sets in. No matter how passionate a person is, there are always extenuating circumstances that can affect success: the economy, office politics, major life events, etc. That said, Johnny and I both do well in our respective career fields, and we’re not hurting for money, but if we’d chosen the “money” bucket (once again with that visual), we’d probably be on a path to making more money than our “passion” choices make us.
More often than not I think what you’re passionate about translates into a different career description than what you imagined. As we mentioned in this post, Johnny works more than we’d like. There’s no real separation between work and home life for him right now. And that gets us wondering if the money bucket would have been the better choice. Even if he worked long hours, the cash flow would help justify it. But even if we both loved our jobs to pieces and they were perfectly perfect and matched our passions to a T, at the end of the day, they’d still just be jobs. So maybe the money bucket would be the right choice no matter what.
I feel like a lot of adults end up making the decision to throw away their career passions for more money. What percentage of 40-year-olds do you know who are working in a career field that still matches their college major? A few years ago, neither Johnny nor I would have ever thought we’d be open to such an idea. We’d be selling out, and how could we do that when the future was ours for the taking? But now we’re rethinking and wondering if those folks who chose pay over passion were onto something. And I’m not saying choosing “pay” would be sunshine and butterflies, but for those who choose it, it’s no longer the wrong choice in our minds. Especially if it means being able to ditch a life of having to choose a passion or pay (aka retirement) a little earlier.
So which did you choose? Is it better to choose passion or pay? Are you one of the lucky few who spends all day doing what you love while rolling in the dough?