Passion Doesn’t Have to Pay

“What do you want to do when you’re out of college?”

“I’m not sure”

“Well, just find what you’re passionate about and you’ll never work a day in your life.”


Who out there hasn’t been on the receiving end of that useless advice ten too many times? Passion is overrated. At least when it comes to making a living. Are there people out there who love their job? I have no doubt. Did Saint Jobis, the god of employment, reach out to them and touch them on their entrepreneurial butt cheek and forget to blow you kisses? Were these lucky few blessed with a vision for life and their place in the working world? Yes. No. Maybe.  Some people are just interested in things that translate to pay and some aren’t. If like most of us you find yourself amongst the latter don’t let it dissuade you from stepping into your future with optimism.

When I was kid and people would bring up my career they’d always ask me “what do you like?”. And the first thing that always came to mind was sports. Specifically, I loved watching sports. So I’d take that and start plotting ways to be paid using this interest. I could have gone into coaching, but being a coach requires a level of corniness I could never hope to achieve. Speaking in cliche for a lifetime isn’t for me. Write about sports? Maybe, but it’s hard to actually enjoy what you’re watching when you’re spending 50% of your brain’s power mentally writing a future piece of the game that’s right in front of you. Broadcasting? I don’t have the emotional energy and enthusiasm necessary to keep people’s interest on a daily basis. And with overwhelming sex appeal I’d hate to have people watch me only for my good looks and not really pay attention to my hot takes.

I used to think I was faulty or lacking maturity because my passion resulted in zero ideas for future employment. But I never stopped asking myself what my passion could be. Afterall, if I didn’t have passion that paid how could I ever possibly be happy and successful? As I’ve gotten older the things that give me energy and get me excited have changed. I still love watching sports, but I learned that I very much enjoy writing. I’ve dabbled with the idea of making a hard push to be paid for writing, but I’d only want to write without interference from others. I don’t want to be handed topics or steered in any direction other than the one I intend to go. Something out there might work for me, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for that opportunity to present itself. Knowing that I could only be happy under a set of very strict self imposed rules, I realize the likelihood of something ever turning up for me is very low. But I’m more than happy doing things like this….for free and with very little recognition in return.

What I’m most passionate about is growing my brain. I love to read, be challenged, travel, and listen to others viewpoints. So what should I do with that— be a reading/writing/traveling philosopher? Perhaps. That sounds cool, but it’s just not realistic. What’s realistic is finding a job that keeps you content, pays the bills, and offers you the freedom to explore the other things in life that really fill you with energy. A few of us are lucky and can turn our hardwork into dream jobs. The rest of us can be content with the knowledge that we still have great futures waiting for us pursuing the things we love. We just happen to be doing the pursuing after the timecard has been punched and we’re on the way home with the whole world in front of us.