Choosing Careers – Passion or Prospects?
Choosing careers or changing them are both life-shaping decisions that have a lot of factors to consider – learn how to balance both.
Choosing careers or changing them are both life-shaping decisions that have a lot of factors to consider, but there is much debate over whether one should pursue their passion or make a career choice based on job prospects for particular roles and industries. Essentially whether you should follow your heart or listen to your head?
The notion of ‘doing what you love’ is often perceived as a dream to achieve, but it can work in some cases provided you are good at what you do and can make a living off of it. Pursuing a career that you don’t enjoy, purely for the sake of job security and expectations of others often leads to future unhappiness or a hard hitting mid-life crisis. When you follow your passion, you are satisfying your mental and spiritual needs however the risks you may have to take can involve making some sacrifices to follow your dreams and always require that you also have a backup plan in place if it doesn’t work out.
A strong example of someone pursuing their passion is Glenn Robbins (comedian/actor who played Kel Knight on Kath and Kim) who began working at an insurance company but was unhappy with that career so he took a drama teaching course to pursue his acting career. If that didn’t work out, he still had a backup plan for a career in teaching what he was passionate about.
Imagine choosing a university degree such as a Bachelor of Commerce solely because the job outlook for accounting and finance looks good for the future years, but you end up not even enjoying the studies and career that comes after it at all.
The reality is that majority of passions don’t align with well-paying careers or have enough career opportunities – often because there is so much competition for limited available positions. You could be passionate about poetry, history or collecting stamps, but the opportunities can be very limited. Not everyone is privileged enough to even consider doing what they love, especially in cases where the motivation for working is to bring food to the table and provide a roof over their heads. Sometimes entering a career that involves your passion can end up ruining what you love about it, especially when it becomes a chore. E.g. someone who enjoys baking cakes ends up opening a bakery but the stress of managing the business and having to bake high quantities of cake can make them lose their passion.
As of 2017 according to the ABS, the unemployment rate is 5.8% and the underemployment rate is still at a historically high level for Australia at 8.6% so job outlook is an important factor in choosing a career if you are looking for long term job security and sustainability in an industry.
The Right Balance
Overall, it is a good choice to consider both passion and prospects if you can find a compromise that supports what you consider a happy lifestyle. It is hard to find the best of both worlds, so if you do then consider yourself lucky!
You don’t necessarily have to work in a career that you are passionate about. However, you can consider a career that suits your personality, interests and desires which will still maintain your career satisfaction and keep you motivated. Completing career tests and quizzes or using career planning tools such as the CareerHQ Career Compass will help you find your perfect fit, should your pursuit of passion fail. A part-time passion is sometimes good enough for some people where they deal with working in a job that they are not passionate about, but have enough income to indulge in their passions in their leisure time.