As kids, many of us were told by teachers and parents to “Follow our passions” and “Do what we love.” However, a recent article on LinkedIn titled “Do What You Love” is Horrible Advice suggests what we were told as children is, in fact, terrible advice. In the article, Jeff Haden, an Inc. Magazine columnist, claims career passions are rare and rather than us following our passions, we should work hard to become valuable in the world and the passion will follow.
So who is right? Should we all make careers out of our passions? Or is Haden on to something? Well, it often depends on the individual. Let me explain.
In the article, Haden advises telling someone to do what they love can be disastrous because people’s passions are often not valuable and rarely pay the bills. But can this be true? Think about what you are passionate about. Now ask yourself - Are people willing to pay me for this? I imagine the answer is most always yes. Love to paint? Artwork can go for millions of dollars at auction. Enjoy singing or playing an instrument? Concerts sell out all the time. Love playing sports? Thousands of athletes have made it their career.
Instead of telling people to give up on what they are passionate about, we should be telling them to proceed with caution. Before making the decision to “do what you love,” ask yourself a few questions.
First, am I dedicated to developing my skill and becoming the best at what I do? Understand that along the way there are going to be some tasks which are a little uncomfortable. For some, that may mean building relationships with people you don’t know. For others, it could be logging 60+hour work weeks. Often times, a person’s success is determined by their level of commitment.
Next, can I see this being my life for the next several years? It’s not uncommon for people to fully immerse themselves in their passion only to burn out a few years later. At Dinte, we recommend doing some due diligence before jumping in the deep end. Talk to people in your desired field to get an understanding of what it’s like to work in that industry. Find out what’s great and what’s not so great. You might discover it’s not for you.
If the answer to both of these questions is an overwhelming yes, congratulations, you have found the career for you! If not, try Haden’s approach. Find an aspect of your current role which interests you and develop those skills. See if the passion follows you.
In the words of Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”