ART BY ESTELLE ZHOU
By MICHELLE HUANG
“Pursue your passions,” they say. “Do what you love,” they say.
For many, this alluring dream of intertwining passion with income often is not a reality. To ensure a prosperous life, many people are forced to turn to mundane yet financially stable jobs.
As a result of choosing a more practical, financially stable job, many people are left, to a certain degree, unhappy.
However, this unhappiness is often only a feeling that fades when workers realize that careers sprouting from their passions often lead to an inevitable financial struggle in life. When choosing a career, people must consider that passion is only a part of their life, not the entirety of their existence. When people apply for jobs, they should consider the financial stability that a job can provide because, as the saying goes, “money makes the world go ‘round.” If one’s job cannot support them financially, they will lead a hard life, losing everything—not just their passions.
First, the stable financial situation of a high-paying job provides room for one to engage in the passions that they had “abandoned” when choosing a job outside of their dream career path. This ability to continue to be in touch with their lifelong interests results largely from the fact that their steady income can afford such diversions. Had someone not had the proper financial balance, they would not be able to divert their attention from their work to participate in other activities. Instead, people who “enjoy life” because they are working the work of their passions must do nothing but work during their lives because the minimal income barely covers their bills.
In this situation, although the work may be more enjoyable to them than another higher-paying job, they are essentially bound to their job just to make payments for their mortgage, electricity and water bills. If they enjoy their job, the tedious hours during which people are slaving away for the basic necessities of life will not seem so intensely painful.
However, being limited by financial burdens, no matter the type of job, also restricts the opportunities to step out of one’s comfort zone.
For instance, if someone earns a good salary, they can afford various exotic trips where they can delve into such passions as experiencing other cultures and foods that they would not have encountered in the comfort of their home, while working only on their passions.
In addition, if someone chooses a higher paying job over an interesting one, the person will be able to set aside time to work on personal projects and indulge on one’s own passions. In fact, if needed, they could take the day off to work on a project, because their high-paying job allows them to do so without living with financial burdens.
Additionally, many high-paying, jobs include benefits for its employees, which smaller jobs do not offer. Jobs that are more geared towards one’s interests, such as being an artist, writer, or even being a professional video game player, do not yield the same sort of support in cases of need.
These jobs provide more stability both to the worker and to their dependents, meaning that most of an employee’s family may live safely under the insured “roof” of a stable job.
Lastly, when one first applies for a job, they most likely will take into consideration their interest in the job. Thus, people tend to turn away from undesirable, yet high-paying jobs.
However, picking a career in a subject of passion may lead to a loss of the passion, which is counterproductive. The reason for this waning interest is obvious: sitting on a desk for hours on end, doing the same thing over and over for days that stretch into weeks; weeks that stretch into months; and months that stretch into years, is tedious, no matter the nature of work. This repetitive and increasingly boring matter, no matter how interested one was before, will no doubt wane.
Over time, people working at a job that was not satisfactory at the beginning will most likely begin to conform and accept the fact that this job, although not their dream job, is much more fulfilling and much more stable than any job that they could have gotten based on their passions. Thus, people who change their careers in hopes of earning more money generally gain a gradual happiness from the fact that they can not only comfortably support themselves, but also have extra money to spend on vacations and fancy dinners.
In short, a “pursuit of happiness” over the pursuit of wealth when it comes to jobs will almost always lead to a long-term downfall filled with debts and depression.