17 May Why “Follow Your Passion” is Bad Advice
There are so many people out there giving the vague career advice that you just need to “follow your passion.” Although these people mean well, they are not always helpful in getting you to navigate your career path.
Sometimes you have to consider more than just passion alone when making a career decision. What if you have multiple passions? What if your passion doesn’t pay well? What if there isn’t demand for your passion in the market?
We prefer to advise our clients and students to start in the market and work from there. Once you find a problem in the market that you become great at solving that energizes you, then passion will surely follow!
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Kevin: Hey, it’s Kevin [Kermes 00:00:07] and Olivia [Gamber 00:00:07] back again. Now last week, Olivia ambushed me, and I say that with a smile, with some questions so I decided I was going to do the same thing with her. Olivia, here we go, are you ready?
Kevin: All right. The number one, and I just want you to be unfiltered, don’t even think about this just slam it right back at me, when somebody gives this advice out, ‘Follow your passion’.
Olivia: Okay, this is tough because this is my biggest pet peeve because what does that mean? When you think about passion, you can have numerous passions. I’m guessing you like paddle-boarding, right? You like the gators, or at least you have to now.
Kevin: Right, that’s true.
Olivia: There’s so many passions. So the question I ask in return is, well, let’s ask some questions about passion. What if your passion doesn’t pay? Are you still going to follow it? I think it’s more complicated than just following your passion. It’s just not actionable because ultimately you don’t know if there’s a demand in the market for your passion and you don’t know if it’s going to pay. You don’t know if you’re going to like doing that for work, in the context of work rather than just doing it as your passion and hobby or whatever it may be. I think that’s just poor advice because ultimately you have to follow the market and get really good at something. Then, ultimately, when you get great at serving a need and a problem, I feel like passion follows. That’s the way I’ve seen it in my career, that’s the way I see it with top performers, people that don’t make it about themselves.
Kevin: I totally agree. The two things that make me smile is number one, with very rare exception do I find people who are good at something that don’t get some kind of intrinsic reward at a minimum from being good at it. Going hand-in-hand with that, your point like paddle-boarding, I don’t see a space time continuum in which anyone is paying me to paddle-board. The two things, you don’t necessarily need to find financial gain in the things that you enjoy. It’s okay to separate those things out. So yeah, I’m on board with you as it relates to that.