Complex Made Simple

Follow the money, you lose, follow your passion, lose even more

Do you choose a career that you're passionate about or one that pays beaucoup bucks?

We should not live under the illusion that the passion can be or should be monetized The pursuit of money is almost directly linked to the pursuit of happiness Whatever is easy for you that most others have a harder time with, that’s a worthy option

Siobhan Morrin, Editor at LinkedIn News reported that the idea of loving what we do is a common one. “But is the idea ‘a con’, as author Sarah Jaffe suggests?” she asked.

Such beliefs could be responsible for stress and anxiety, when unachievable and when met with lower monetary rewards.

Babak Golriz, Emerging Markets expert in Business Development  MENA/India said that people’s persistent advice about “follow your passion” and letting kids follow theirs, “always irked me”. 

“You should encourage people to develop their passion but we should not live under the illusion that the passion can be or should be monetized. It’s not always possible.”  

Read: How to support the mental health and well-being of your employees

Read: In the post-COVID world, employees are the new bosses and here’s what they want

Does passion count for anything?

Chasing money instead of passion won’t get you far if you’re looking for self-improvement.

The pursuit of money is almost directly linked to the pursuit of happiness. In the end, money buys us things.

But here are three top reasons why following your passion is sometimes a better option than money.

1. Work is more fun

What’s worse than going to a job you don’t care about? However, if you choose to follow your passion, you can begin to truly enjoy what you do. While the monetary reward may be smaller, the internal rewards could make up for it.

2. Passion is creativity

When passionate about the work, every day brings something new and interesting.

You are more inclined to come up with creative ideas and fuel personal and professional growth. Otherwise, you’ll develop resentment for your forced work.

3. Work less

When you work at a job you’re passionate about, you’ll be able to focus more and get things done on time because those tasks don’t feel like such a burden. When you’re simply working for money, motivation is more difficult to find, which may lead to longer hours in order to get things done.

Following the money is better

A recent Stanford research paper identifies the main flaw with “Finding your passion.” 

It presupposes that interests and passions are fixed, rather than fluid and evolving as we age and gain wisdom and experience. Those who follow the fixed mindset are much more likely to give up when obstacles arise.  

By putting “what activity do I enjoy doing most?” on a pedestal, we are perpetrating various major and minor crimes against reason and common sense, reported Forbes.

What happens when you tell people to follow some mystical inner voice that just isn’t there to start with? It could leave them feeling inadequate.

So how to choose your career?

Are you good or can you develop skills in something that can meet a specific demand? 

This is where passion can play a role. Whatever is easy for you that most others have a harder time with, that’s a worthy option.

Cal Newport’s seminal book So Good They Can’t Ignore You is the leading intellectual ammo for us passion principle deniers. Cal’s central thesis is that developing rare and valuable skills will lead to far greater career satisfaction because they make you financially stable and give you lots of control over your time. And slowly, you develop a passion for a field you have profound expertise in.