Follow my passion? No thanks

I’m happy in my job — why can’t everyone leave me alone?

Quite right, says our elder.

Dear EWC

A couple years ago I kicked myself off SSDI to be an electrical apprentice. This is a lot better than hanging at the house being sick but I’m constantly getting weird feedback, notably that I don’t seem to be interested in what I’m doing and should pick something I **really** like. It’s hard to orient myself in terms of this advice because I’ve really despised all the jobs I’ve ever had and it’s nice to be working at something that is at least fairly challenging and gives you an opportunity to think. I feel I’ve gotten a lot from the people I’ve met through the trade who tend to be interesting, intelligent and grounded individuals.

Isn’t the point of having a career to have a solid living doing something you find reasonably challenging and rewarding? Maybe my outlook is completely screwed up from having been ill, but my impression of things is that life is misery piled upon more misery. “Follow your passion” seems awfully bourgeois. Paying the bills is important! What am I missing in all of this? I’d hate to spend the rest of my life working in a sandwich shop — I already did this; it was terrible.

Gabriel-A replies

Thank you for your letter. I think you are on the right track. It’s true that in an ideal situation, you could “follow your passion”, but realistically, there are few people who truly know what they love and also that it’s something that can provide a reasonable standard of living. So I don’t think you are missing anything. You hit on some very good points, i.e. work that is reasonably challenging, allows you to think, and you get to work with intelligent, grounded individuals.

I faced a similar situation. I started out in college training to be a teacher of grade school children and found out quickly that it wasn’t for me. Then I switched to Psychology and although I enjoyed it reasonably, I found out that I couldn’t make a very good living in social services and I didn’t have the interest or money for a Masters or Doctorate degree to pursue other avenues. I completed my Bachelor’s degree; ultimately devoting my career to Purchasing Management where I could still use my Psychology training to manage staff and negotiate significant contracts with suppliers. I enjoyed the challenges of this profession and made a good life for myself. This also wasn’t a perfect job, (there may not be such a thing), but it provided me with a good living in a challenging, growing environment.

As you seem to be reasonably happy, it makes sense to me for you to build your career from where you’re at.

Thanks for contacting the EWC, and I hope this is helpful.

Letter #: 418162
Category: Career

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