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Growing up, my classmates and I would spend days fantasizing about our future careers. From princesses, to ballerinas, to superheroes, the sky was the limit on what our jobs would consist of. Now as a college junior, there are many more facets my peers and I must focus on while pursuing a career.

Passion

“If you enjoy your job, it shouldn’t feel like work.”

A sentence I’ve heard many times in middle and high school while researching potential careers. While taking personality tests created to best match your identity with future jobs, teachers would constantly push the mindset that you should love your work.

This mindset stuck with me, and has been very influential in the way I’ve academically and professionally navigated myself. Currently, I’m pursuing my dream job, and I feel so grateful to have had a support system encouraging me to pursue what I truly wanted to do.

This, however, is not the case for everyone. For those daydreaming about being a princess when they grow up, one day the reality will hit that their dreams are not a feasible option. For some people with more restraining family or personal constrictions, the financial or emotional support to chase their dream job simply isn’t there.

While it’s a tough reality to face, not everyone can have passion be the ultimate factor in what profession they choose to pursue. The ability to have your dream job is a privilege, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Beyond the restraints of ability, sometimes in practice your dream job just isn’t for you.

For example, someone could be an incredibly talented artist. They could wake up every morning with a hunger to paint and ideas they are dying to put on the canvas. This person could also be fortunate enough to have the client base and financial security to pursue painting as their full time job.

In theory it sounds perfect. Being able to make an income and support yourself through what you love. And while this is the case for some people, sometimes when passion becomes your career, it can drain your love from your work.

No longer is painting something you crave to do, it is what is providing the roof over your head. Working can be hard, and after spending an exhausting day doing anything, you’re not going to want to do it as a hobby anymore. It no longer feels like an escape or a way of self expression. While this isn’t the case for everyone, it’s completely OK to keep your passions as something for yourself and your career as an isolated aspect of your life.

Payment

At the end of the day, the purpose of your job is to financially supply you with the resources to maintain the life you live. While I’m a huge advocate in working in a field that interests you and sparks joy, you shouldn’t neglect the financial layer of working.

Having a well-paying job can provide you with many benefits and opportunities. From family vacations to access to healthcare, the resources that come with a high paying job are life changing.

Luxuries aside, in the case of a family, health or any kind of emergency, having access through money from a high paying job can provide so much security. Without the anxiety that comes with living paycheck to paycheck, a well-paying job can grant so much peace of mind.

Balance

Like many things in life, finding the balance between passion and payment in your work is one of the most ideal circumstances.

It’s so easy to be miserable working a high paying job that’s repetitive and uninteresting in a field you dislike. Life is too short to hate the way you spend the majority of your hours.

It’s also so easy to be miserable if you’re burning out your passion by making it the sole way you make income. Your passion can’t be your after work stress reliever if it’s the same activity that stresses you out at work.

Finding a career that you enjoy and can provide for you is in my opinion the best case scenario, without leaning too far deep into the passion or payment side of the spectrum.

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