My question today though is a little different.
Would you follow your passion if it meant you were to make less money? Or would you rather work in a position that you really hate so that you can earn more money?
When I decided on my college major, I decided on something that I thought would bring me to a corporate job so that I could make money. I really had nothing else on my mind. I thought having a “safe” major would make me happy enough in life.
Boy, was I wrong! Yes, I had a comfortable job, but I wasn’t happy.
After three years of working as a financial analyst, I knew it just wasn’t for me. Yes, even though I make a very comfortable income right now, my last job was much “safer.”
I was on track to become President at the company, I had a good salary, I received good benefits, and I knew the job and the company weren’t going anywhere.
However, even with all that safety, I wasn’t happy. Instead, I wanted something that I actually enjoyed. I also wanted to do something that would allow me to have a flexible schedule and do other things that I enjoy outside of work.
Even though I love working as a financial blogger and freelancer, I don’t think I could ever go back to a financial firm as an analyst (or any position at a firm). It’s just not what I enjoy. In fact, yesterday I received an email from a headhunter asking me if I would like to take a senior level position at a local financial firm (it’s a big firm with over 100 employees). I had to laugh and file the email away because even though they were offering a hefty salary and even a signup bonus, I knew I was not interested.
Not everyone is the same, and I know many people who are pursuing jobs with a higher income. I also know of many people who are pursuing jobs that they love that pay less.
Below are a few positives and negatives for each side of the argument.
Less money may mean a delay in reaching financial goals.
If your main goal right now is to pay off debt as quickly as you can, then you may be interested in working towards making as much money as you can. That may mean working a job you hate, working long hours, working multiple jobs, and so on.
When I wanted to get rid of my student loans as quickly as possible, I wasn’t interested in pursuing my passion. I was interested in eliminating my debt as quickly as possible so that my life could actually “begin” on my debt payoff date.
I was working 100 hour weeks for years. I was going to college, working my day job, and working my side hustles for what seemed like forever. In the end, it all paid off. Luckily, I didn’t have too much student loan debt, so I didn’t have to struggle for a very long time.
However, if you are interested in pursuing your passion, then it may mean that you have to delay your financial goals or even put them on hold. It may take you a little bit longer to reach your goal, but you have to weigh the positives and negatives and you may find it worthwhile (or not).
A lesser paying job may mean more time.
Following your passion can also mean that you take a job that allows you to pursue your passion in your free time. Even if it’s not a job that you absolutely love, you might decide to take a job for less money because you are able to pursue your passion outside of your normal work hours.
You might have more vacation time, a better and/or more flexible schedule, a less stressful job, or something else.
For me, I’m all about having a flexible schedule. That is one of the biggest positives for me of the freelancing that I do right now. I love freelancing, but I also love that it allows me to be in control of my day.
If I want to ride my bike on a beautiful trail at noon, I can. If I want to go out to lunch with my friends, I can. I am no longer bound by my work day.
Following your passion may mean that can’t retire until later.
If you are wanting to retire quickly, then choosing a job with less money will not get you there as quickly. I’ve heard of many people taking a job that they absolutely hated, working it to death and then retiring very early.
I don’t think that route is for me, but I can understand why others would choose it. If you “only” have to suffer for a decade or two and then you get to have the time of your life, that would be very tempting.
If you decide to work your passion, you may find yourself working for much longer. Following your passion doesn’t always equal less money, but in many cases it does.
This leads to…
You may never have to work a day in your life though.
Following your passion might mean that you never actually work a day in your life.
If you truly love what you are doing, is it actually work? Or are you just having a great time?
Following your passion can be great because you are doing what you love to do, and you actually look forward to work. If you are going to spend one-third of your life working, then why not do something that you love?