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Putting Passions On the Side?

July 17, 2010  
Filed under Coffee Table

By Charlsie Niemiec —

Parents often tell their kids that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, and many people have the leeway to decide what it is they want to do. While this freedom to choose is powerful, the push and the pull of today’s current economic state is causing people to give up on those dreams, making it almost impossible to achieve balance and satisfy both the personal and professional life.

Although I only recently graduated college, I have already come face to face with this dilemma. My goal is to attend law school next year, so I’ve been studying for the LSATs. During this time, I received a full-time job offer that would not only offer me excellent pay, but with full benefits. Do I take it or leave it? Friends and family told me to take the job and leave my aspirations for law school behind, but what no one seemed to consider was that I had no interest in the job (it was a marketing position). Ultimately, I decided to stick with my plan to attend law school, but sometimes I can’t help but think about the opportunity I may have missed.

We always hear “Do what you love” (Henry David Thoreau said this), but in today’s economic climate, it’s becoming harder and harder to follow. New graduates and young professionals are constantly struggling with new jobs or the job search process, posing constant questions about whether or not a more practical or higher paying job should take the place of one’s dream. With so much emphasis being placed on staying afloat during the recession, dismissing what makes a person truly happy within their careers seems to be the initial reaction to staying ahead.

Having a Positive Perspective

But is saying “I hate my job, but the money is good” a reason to keep going? Maybe, but some kind of happy medium should exist such as, “I hate my job right now, but when I’m done with graduate school, I will be doing what I love” or “The money I’m making now may not be enough sometimes, but if I keep going in my career doing what I’m passionate about—I know I will be successful.”

New grads are really feeling the burden of money with student loans. According to the New York Times, during the 2008-2009 academic school year alone, parents and students took out more than $95 billion in loans, both federally guaranteed and private. The pressure to pay off these loans may push aside long-term goals and interests, making people turn to more practical ways to pay them off.

But you might not need to stray too far to get help in making payments. For example, if an English major wants to become a teacher, he might be making $30,000 or less his first year—not nearly enough to cover paying his student loan debt of $80,000. One way to get the teacher into his dream job is to join programs like Teach for America and the Peace Corps—not only will his loans be deferred and interest paid off by the government, he will be doing what he loves—teaching!

Looking elsewhere in the career market can also be a good opportunity to compromise between doing what you love vs. working solely for financial benefits. lists of 25 recession-proof jobs that exist in health care, public safety, international business, and even bankruptcy law.

If you have always wanted to try your hand at some interest, now could be the time. Have you always wanted to become a nurse or a web designer? Maybe going back to school could be the answer to keeping ahead during the recession, all the while ensuring a good future ahead of you. Despite times being hard, people need to think about long-term effects and how they will feel ten years from now.


2 Responses to “Putting Passions On the Side?”
  1. ZX-14 lady says:

    Some people see things that are and ask, Why? Some people dream of things that never were and ask, Why not? Some people have to go to work and don’t have time for all that..


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