Why ‘follow your passions’ is not sound advice

Photo by Billy Bui

Do what you love, but also what you can get a job in
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor


There is one piece of advice frequently given to young adults beginning their career paths that I think is unrealistic. Everyone has heard that when trying to figure out what to do as a career you should “do what you love” or “follow your passions.” While these are nice ideals, I don’t think that solely following your passion is the right way to go about choosing a profession. Yes, finding a job in a field you enjoy is great, but I think people should also pursue something that is marketable and easy to get a job in.

In terms of career searching, passion should align with practicality, not exceed it. No one wants to go to school for five years and spend thousands of dollars on tuition and textbooks only to be unemployed because of how difficult it is to find a job with the degree you worked hard to earn.

It is important to pursue your interests, but it’s important to have financial, emotional, and mental stability first. Financial stress like student loan debt can cause stress in other aspects of your life, which is why I think you should go into a career field that is not so difficult to get a job in. It may not be something that you love to do, but it’s better than not working at all. Furthermore, you can still follow your passions even if you aren’t working a job that you love. I think the most important thing is to first be financially stable, then make time outside of work to explore your passions.

I think constantly telling people to “do what you love” sets an unrealistic standard for future careers. Not everyone is going to love what they do or be able to achieve their dream job. For some it’s too expensive or intensive of a field, or maybe it’s just not a job they want to do even if they enjoy the activity or industry. At the end of the day, a job is a job. It’s work and we’re not going to love it all the time. In fact, it might even make us miserable sometimes, as a lot of work tends to do. Most people become disenchanted with a job at a certain point, so we need acknowledge that “doing what you love” may well have the same effects.

Finally, there is a possibility that you will find what you think is your dream job and decide that it’s not for you. Sometimes the things we love to do aren’t meant to be our job because then this passion becomes work and it’s not fun anymore. You may find the very thing that you love to do will become a source of stress if it’s your career. Doing what you love is good, but it’s not always essential to putting food on the table and getting by day-to-day, so I believe we need to stop giving this impractical advice.