Which job should I choose? For money or passion?

Why fit in when you were born to stand out? Dr. Seuss.
Dr. Seuss is right and we all know that. So, let’s try to stand out and make a dent in the universe (in a good way, of course)!

Key takeaways:

  • choose a job/career you are passionate about;
  • passion is key to career success but not all it takes;
  • coaching and mentoring brings you through tough times and sail to success.

I teach airline management in a university. Different from other departments, most of our students are passionate about aviation. How do you know someone is passionate about aviation? The answer is from the stickers on their laptops and their email addresses.

While computer scince/engineering students may have all the flavours of Linux, Python and Java stickers on their laptops, our kids have aircraft and airline stickers on. I often come across some personal email addresses of our students and they usually read like: 737er@gmail.com, or MikeloveB787@outlook.com. It’s not difficult to tell their passion, is it?

Passion drives our lives because most of us work a number of hours per day, while we spend the remaining hours either with family and friends or sleeping. So, technically, the job we choose should base on our passion. The reality is that this is not always true for most people.

A US study revealed that more than 70% people are not happy with their jobs. Most find it hard to enjoy the current job (for some reason), or have a passion for something but need the current job to pay bills (and hence, stuck).

For my coaching clients (and potential clients), the enquiry usually starts with “I don’t like this job but don’t know how to escape“, “I enjoy this job but can’t advance in the corporate ladder“, or “I love this job but my new manager makes my life miserable and I want to leave“. Although having passion toward your job can easily make you happy, passion alone is not enough for advancing a career. In an earlier blog, I talked about ‘drifting in life and career‘ and also ‘finding the purpose of life‘. However, when it comes to action, it’s often hard to explore self and find the light at the end of the tunnel by one’s own.

I had so much fun coaching a couple who are both aviation professionals and passionate about aviation; they live and breathe aviation! They both chose the right jobs and are advancing through both their careers and family lives. While seeing airplanes and airports everyday is a lot of fun for this couple, each of them has own challenges at work. At times, this work challenge ‘extends and invades’ their family time, affecting family life quality.

Students often ask me which job to choose from and I always avoid giving firm answers. I don’t want to point at one option and tell the kid that this is good for you. After all, I am not the person who is going to do the job. Instead, I ask the kid: ‘what’s your passion? If you are young and nothing to lose, then choose the one that you love the most. Not the one that looks fancy, not the one that people think you should have (your parents?), but the one you will wake up no matter how early in the morning, jump out of your bed and can’t wait to go to work. It’s like going for an excursion as a primary student!

If you choose your career by following your passion early in your life, then you will enjoy your work more and be happier later in life. You will definitely not be stuck in a job you don’t like but need to keep it in order to pay your mortgage and bills. Live to work is always better than work to live, isn’t it.

Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com

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