Things I don’t understand: Follow Your Passion

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The other day, I realized that my parents never actually advised me to “follow my passions.” In fact, it often seemed that they would advise the contrary. An instance that jumps to mind was when I was confirming my final course choices for the International Baccalaureate (IB) in high school. All my classes had been accounted for, except for my seventh class, would I choose art or physics? Now it was apparent to my counselor that I wanted to choose art. I chose Physics. Why? Because my parents preferred knowing that I had a good solid ‘background’ which would keep doors open. It did come in handy later for my university science requirements, but beyond that I didn’t maintain much connections with physics after high school.

Now why am I mentioning this story? Once I got to Canada, I was suddenly being bombarded with messages dictating that I pursue happiness and that a job that isn’t related to my passion is a useless job. There is some truth to the whole “follow your passion.” I have worked—like many others—a job that I despised. I would dread going to work three days ahead of time (it was a part-time job) and I would count down the number of shifts until I quit. In fact, I also hate my current job and I am also thinking of quitting.  Having gone through these two experiences, I would never recommend someone to stick to a job that causes them great anxiety, misery and which they absolutely despise.

But, there are many jobs out that there are just “meh.”  As in they are okay. They aren’t bad but you are not absolutely in looooove with them. You might just like them.

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Once, I was speaking with a friend about my first contract, at Company A and when I explained what I did, she commented on how I didn’t seem enthused about it. Now this incidence did not happen only once … but thrice. I don’t get it! Am I supposed to do a song and dance when I speak about work? Is every single job I do supposed to be a dream job? For me, the answer is no. Meh jobs are good. Meh jobs are great when you are starting out a career.

On that note, I will be starting a series of posts on why I feel that “Follow your passion” is not necessarily the best piece of advice out there.