Should you follow your passion?

A lot of people say that if you follow your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Successful actors claim they followed their passion, and their love for acting helped them get through the hard times until they found success.

Entrepreneurs are ALWAYS saying to follow your passion, work hard, buck the trends, and you’ll achieve your goals.

I’m not so sure I completely agree.

I certainly think following your passion is a good thing to do for your career. But it’s only one part of the equation.

A job or career is made up of many factors to consider. You have to consider the subject matter and function of your job, the skills that you have, the people you work with, whether you can live on the wages you make, and so many other aspects.

Let’s go back to the acting example.

You might love acting. You crushed your role in that local play. But if you move out to Hollywood and find out you’re only good enough to act in GoGurt commercials, you’re probably going to start to hate acting after a while.

If you’re passionate about baking brownies, should you immediately open up a bakery? Sure, you might love and be good at baking, but running a bakery is much more than just baking.

A personal example is when I followed my passion for sports into a short but solid career in that industry.

The subject matter was sports, which I was very passionate about. But I wasn’t going to take any job function in the sports industry; I was looking specifically for a marketing or strategy position. I didn’t want to do sales, finance, or HR, because I had no interest in those functions and I probably would have sucked at them.

I wound up landing an awesome marketing job with the Washington Capitals.

Even then, after a few years, the job just ran its course and my passion for it dwindled. I wanted to build a business from the ground up and take something from zero to one.

Bottom line is that there are so many factors that make up a job or career that following your passion isn’t going to solve every career issue you may have.

It’s a sobering thought and not very positive, but it’s realistic.

When considering a career move, you should certainly think about what you’re passionate about. But you should also think about what you’re good at, where you can add the most value, how this career will impact other parts of your life, and many other factors.

That’s why I think “follow your passion” isn’t the best career advice to give.


This is day 26 of my experiment to blog for 30 consecutive days.

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