When it comes to selecting a career path, you’ve probably heard many times that you should “follow your passion.” But do your current dreams always translate into a fulfilling career over the course of your life?
Here are a few things to consider when you’re thinking about “following your passions” instead of practicalities.
Think of Quality of Life, Not Just Passion
Consider a few of your passions. Maybe you love music, art, or basketball. Or maybe you’re passionate about video games, hiking, or socializing and getting to know people.
Now think about the life you’d live with a career in that passion. For example, maybe you adore music, but what would a career in music production or performance really entail?
Depending on the path you take, you’ll probably need to tour often and work long hours. You might need to audition constantly, and your paychecks might not always be regular or routine.
Maybe this would work for you or would even be exciting in the short-term, but what if you plan to raise a family? Or what if you’d eventually like to own a home or gain some stability?
When you consider a career, think about not only the short-term potential for success, but the long-term, day-to-day reality of what it would really be like to work in a certain field.
Look at the Bigger Picture
When considering your future career, you also need to consider not only your passion and what you like to do every day, but the other aspects of the career, such as location, salary, job prospects, hours required, and logistics.
For example, no matter how much you might love being a librarian, there might not be many openings where you live. If you’re willing to move, that might be fine, but if location is a major factor for you, you might have to choose your career based on something other than passion alone.
Similarly, if you live in a high-cost area and aren’t willing to move, you might not be able to choose work in a low-paying industry, even if you’re passionate about it.
Or, if you love a field that requires long hours, but you are a parent or a caregiver to a relative, it might be worth it to consider other options.
In the end, burnout and exhaustion could potentially be a lot more devastating than choosing a career you’re not completely passionate about.