Wednesday 26 October 2016

Work for your passion or for money?

Recommended reading: "Don't do what you love for a career - do what makes you money" by Catherine Baab-Muguira.

It's a timely rebuttal to the rose-coloured glasses view that you should follow your passion and only work at something that you love. Baab-Muguira is right with respect to 99% of the population. No job is perfect and no job is without considerable hassles. Very often one discovers that the "passion" fades. Circumstances can and do change. Let's face it, humans are built to be adaptable. Almost all of us are not so gifted at anything that our legacy to the world and our happiness is uniquely tied to one job, occupation or career.

My wife is a perfect example of what can happen when you start a job for money. While in secondary school she wanted to study languages and possibly be a translator. The family situation did not permit this and she was obliged to go into something practical, which would help support the family (this being the bygone era when kids were expected to contribute financially as soon as they could work). That undesired, unsought occupation was teaching. Guess what, by determination and hard work (e.g. taking extra courses necessary for advancement while having two children) she got really good at her job. So much so that she rose to become principal of a primary school. She also learned to love the job. So much so that she worked on for a year and half beyond the age at which she could retire with full pension. And the languages since she retired? Nope, she has not gone and done it. She's more interested in our grand-children.

Retirement is no uninterrupted orgy of selfish passionate pursuits either. The phase of not being able to do whatever the heck you like never arrives, not even in retirement. You can do more of what you want to do and less of what others want you to do with financial independence, but as long as there are other people around, starting with family, and extending to whatever groups you belong to, the mix of good and bad, success and disappointments, is always there to contend with.

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