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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Shouldn’t income drive a career just as much, or more than passion?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (20254 points ) October 18th, 2011

Often I hear people talk about their passion to do a job or career. Those who aspire to a job or career, many have to know they will never be wealthy doing it. If you have a passion for cooking, let say, unless you are very lucky, you will never be wealthy or even well off. In this economy, is passion really going to be enough? Isn’t it smart to think about overall income or income potential? Having passion for teaching, gymnastic, or studying animals, etc. is no guarantee you won’t retire broke.

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27 Answers

chewhorse's avatar

If you view your life in monetary and financial realities then your right, but there are millions of unhappy people tredging away at the sorry ass job that they’ve got, their bitter and hateful and the only thing keeping them there in that unbearable situation is the money they make from it, but too late do they realize ‘they won’t be able to take it with them’ thus their destroying their humanity by toiling and hating what their doing and in the end are only providing someone else with their hard earned idol. Loving your job, loving what you do is wealth in itself.. It can keep you healthy, optimistic and happy… in their mind, the money is merely the cherry on top… And when they die, they leave just enough so that their heirs can experience life as it should be. As far as the brass ring goes, there are hundreds of thousands of suits out there who have concured their own challenge, but they had to step over millions who was also striving for the big banana, to get to where they are.. That’s what’s called ‘B’ness’.

Soupy's avatar

It really depends on what you want to get out of life.

Some people are fine with the knowledge that their chosen career will never make them wealthy, or even financially stable. They prefer to wake up in the morning knowing that they will love what they do that day.

Other people are willing to pass on their passions and dreams, because they desire financial stability and growth. They prefer to spend their days doing something they don’t love, or even something they hate, with the knowledge that they and their families will be financially secure.

Both options are fine. Each to his own… whatever floats your boat… all that jazz.

Lightlyseared's avatar

So your suggesting the mindless pursuit of wealth is the greatest thing you aim to achieve with your life?

rooeytoo's avatar

Comes down to do you want to live to work or work to live. If you are the live to work type, then you better find a job that makes you happy or passionate or something like that. If on the other hand you want to work to live, then it doesn’t much matter. You do it for your 40 or more hours a week, collect your check and go out and live.

I personally am in the work to live group. I am practical. There is no job in the world that is going to make me happy for my entire life, I have found nothing that I have been passionate about for the entire course of my life, that comes and goes. But the need for food and a roof over my head, health insurance, a reliable car and motor scooter, they are constant so I found a way to finance them. I work with a woman whose passion is anthropology, she has a masters in it. I also work with a woman who has an undergraduate degree in environmental biology, her particular passion. We are all grooming dogs at the moment. I because it’s one of those jobs that I can pick up anywhere in the world and make some money, the other 2 because their passions are not hiring at the moment (meaning federal grants have dried up somewhat).

harple's avatar

I am so passionate about my job (I teach and play the harp) that it never feels like work. Which is such a good thing, as to make an income from it I have to put in so much time and effort, and, er, yet more time! I have no pension and will be relying on my health lasting to enable me to continue to work for as long as possible. Not a safe option, but the one I have open to me at the moment. But, as it doesn’t feel like work, I don’t worry about continuing to do it until the day I die. Having said all I have about the amount of time I have to put into it, I still only WORK work a 4 day week, so I maintain a healthy work-life balance. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on life or passing up on any exciting opportunities.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Money enables you to do and have many things, but it can’t buy back a life poorly lived. Find the balance that works best for you.

digitalimpression's avatar

Only because I have a family. If I were single, I would be doing a job I’m more passionate about and wouldn’t be sad about the pay-cut.

Seaofclouds's avatar

With spending my time practically split 50/50 between work and family, I definitely want to be doing something I enjoy and am passionate about during all of that time. I couldn’t imagine being miserable half of the time just because I wanted to make more money.

marinelife's avatar

Because one spends so many hours of life at work, it is much better to be doing something you have a passion for than just doing something for money.

wundayatta's avatar

If money is important to you more than anything else, then sure. If job satisfaction or doing work you love is more important, than the money isn’t that important. There’s no should about it. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

jerv's avatar

What use is money if your life sucks so bad that you wish you were dead?

smilingheart1's avatar

Ernie Zelinkski has a whole lot of books out entitled “The Joy of Not…....” Very good reads.

SpatzieLover's avatar

It seems I already answered this question the first time you asked it.

Let’s take this sentiment of yours:
If you have a passion for cooking, let say, unless you are very lucky, you will never be wealthy or even well off

What if the person cooking has a passion for feeding people, not just for cooking. So, this person starts a soup kitchen in an area where people are seriously hungry. The soup kitchen feeds hundreds of people per day. Donations keep the kitchen afloat and the cook is living within his means. His passion is met. His soul is fulfilled. What does he need the income for?

thesparrow's avatar

You can be relatively successful with cooking. You can, for example, become a chef and make decent enough money. Or you can open a catering firm, restaurant. You can study culinary management and work in a management position.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@Lightlyseared So your suggesting the mindless pursuit of wealth is the greatest thing you aim to achieve with your life? —The pursuit of wealth is never mindless or trivial, unless to the uninformed poor.—

@Seaofclouds I couldn’t imagine being miserable half of the time just because I wanted to make more money. I cannot imagine being with out, or little money half of the time because not being able to live (or just getting by) would be miserable.

@SpatzieLover The soup kitchen feeds hundreds of people per day. Donations keep the kitchen afloat and the cook is living within his means. His passion is met. His soul is fulfilled. What does he need the income for? When times comes that they want to stop cooking, or medical reason force them to quit, they do not end up having to rely on the soup kitchen they put so much time into.

@jerv What use is money if your life sucks so bad that you wish you were dead? How is it better to wish you were dead because your life sucked when you didn’t have enough money to live almost hand to mouth, or never being able to stop working less live off the government or family?

rooeytoo's avatar

HC I am with you completely, I personally like money. I love my toys. I don’t want to give them up because I can’t afford them. I owned a kennel for a lot of my life, picked up tons of dog poop, I love dogs but not the poop but it all went hand in hand. I don’t think there would ever be any kind of job that would make me happy all the time, so I have always done what would keep money in my pocket because that may not always make me happy but it sure beat being unhappy with no money in my pocket.

If you trample others in your pursuit of wealth that is a bad thing, but if you just work your butt off because you like money and what it can buy, that sure doesn’t make you stupid or a bad person in my book.

YARNLADY's avatar

If there is a choice, then having money to do the things that make life worth living is great. However, most people don’t have that choice, because they lack the skills required to pursue a high paying career.

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Are you saying that life sucks unless you sacrifice everything for the sake of having the biggest pile of money possible? Are you telling me that the sole reason you exist is to make financial profit? Or are you saying that you are either a millionaire or homeless (no in-between)?

You ask for opinions and then offend people who have different priorities in life than you do. You belittle those that are not like you.

Your next post better be explaining how you are not a troll.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central I suppose I’m lucky that I don’t just “get by” with the career path I am passionate about. Even before becoming a nurse, I didn’t feel like I was going without things just because I didn’t make as much money as I do now. I suppose it could just be a matter of what you and I consider “going without” and I have a feeling we have different things that we are considering with that phrase.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jerv You ask for opinions and then offend people who have different priorities in life than you do. You belittle those that are not like you.

Your next post better be explaining how you are not a troll.

Glad you asked. If I were trolling I would have simply alluded to the opinion in the question, that those who would spend their life following a passion to the point they end up broke, would be a fool. I didn’t say that, and I am not saying it now. I did not say to anyone who would rather follow their passion even if they knew the income potential was very limited or near non-existent that they were a fool, or such. That you will not hear me say. People posed an ideal, I posed a counter to enlighten them of the other side they might have not seen because they were focusing on avoiding the side with the money.

I have met and known people, some with money, many more with out money. The ones with money were more of an official or business capacity, so I rarely seen their home life. Those I did see appear to be happier than those who struggled, or those are poor. Those who had to struggle all the time or worry what would become of them when they are in their 60s, didn’t seem to have a whole lot of happiness overall.

I am just saying, at some point you have to think about the future as much as you are following what you love that might be leaving you short.

jerv's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central Thank you for clarifying; you were really coming across as a total asshole for a moment there. Now let me give you my take.

Many people face The Pretender Problem; maybe you know that song and remember the line, “Caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender…”. One way or another, their life will suck, whether it be from losing their soul or struggling their entire lives. There really is no way for such a person to ever have a decent life.

I consider myself to be lucky in that I am in the minority in that what I love to do is something that will also earn me a living, so I don’t have that problem. The only real complaint I have about my job is that the pay, while enough to avoid struggling, is only ~60% of what most people in my position earn.

However, that is merely the dollars. The reason I put up with it is because of the non-dollar things about my job that more than balance things out. If I were all about the paycheck then I would have left long ago, but when I factor in the total compensation package (placing some value on happiness) I wind up ahead of where I would be at other jobs that paid more.

Now let us look at the people I know that have money. All of the ones I know fall into one of the following types:

1) Those so concerned with accumulating/retaining wealth that they cannot actually enjoy it – Maybe they work 80+ hours a week, maybe they are under a lot of stress, or maybe they just hate wearing “Golden handcuffs”, but their lives suck. They may seem happy, but I’ve seen them behind the scenes and that is just an act.

2) Those that have their money without effort – Inheritance, trust fund, sugar daddy/mama… these people never had to make such a choice because the money has always been there.

3) Those that got sick of the rat race and regret chasing cheese to the exclusion of all else for so long – Nice house(s), nice car(s), and a crushing feeling that they wasted at least a couple of decades of their lives.

I have seen people who had relatively little achieve a great degree of happiness in their later years, and a lot of rich people totally dissatisfied and/or full of regret. And I consider the happier people to be more successful regardless of financial considerations.

To sum up, this question is basically a different way of asking, “How do you define Success in life?”

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – I can’t make up my mind which side of the fence you are on??? It seems as if you are saying that those who work for the money are unhappy because they are not doing something they love and therefore their lives suck. But then you say that you are doing something you love but you complain about the low pay every time a question in this vein comes up. So it sounds as if your life sucks too, at least to a certain degree.

This is one of those questions where it is very difficult to generalize and also we all tend to project our feelings onto others. I believe someone said above that balance is the key and to me balance may be achieved by what someone else would consider 60–40 or 70–30.

I wish I had been smart enough to makes lots and lots of money when I was younger. I always made enough to keep me happy and to live the way I wanted to live. Some would say I should have saved instead of enjoying, but hey, you only go round once. Now the trick is to die before the money runs out, or before I am too old to work for more!

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo Nobody lives a perfect life, at least nobody I have ever met. You are correct that my life sucks to a certain degree, but I also know for a fact that I have it good. Financial stability, a loving wife, no sense of self-loathing… I think that’s more than many people far richer than me. And I only bitch about my pay since it is below the prevailing wage; if CNC Machinists typically only made about what I make then I would have no complaints, but inequality is a pet peeve of mine.

You are correct about balance though, and I am pretty damn close to my idea of a perfect one.

rooeytoo's avatar

@jerv – that’s what I figured you would say and my point is people who make lots of money are no more likely or unlikely to be happy or not. “I think that’s more than many people far richer than me.” That is an assumption you make and I just wonder why you assume that because I have never seen any evidence of it among my friends or statistically.

jerv's avatar

@rooeytoo I think we are agreeing then; financial status and happiness are independent of each other.
As for that assumption, I base it on observation of the rich people I know. In other words, evidence.

Ron_C's avatar

If income drove a career, I’d still be at my old company. Instead I opted for independence and doing work that I enjoy. I know guys that went the other way and all they can talk about is getting ready to retire. To me retirement is entering god’s waiting room, waiting to die, no thanks.

thesparrow's avatar

@Ron_C Good for you.

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