For many students, feelings of indecisiveness or confusion regarding their future career is normal. A major factor in deciding what to pursue is the associated financial rewards.
In a materialist world, we ask: does the job we want to make money? If the answer is no, people walk away, regardless of how much they love it.
Musicians, artists, and writers don’t pursue what they love because they’re afraid to be broke. So instead, they become accountants—but they shouldn’t.
Professionals like neurosurgeons, corporate attorneys, and CEOs reap massive benefits. Individuals who work these jobs embody the saying ‘work hard, play hard.’ They work strenuous hours, take on difficult tasks, and devote their lives to these careers.
When it comes time to decide if this is the right job, people often don’t consider the effort these careers require. Rather, they see the six-figure salary, the winter house in the Bahamas, and the various trips to Europe.
Obtaining a financially sound career that provides security and comfort is, obviously, the goal. However, it shouldn’t be the primary factor when choosing your future path.
Focusing primarily on monetary benefits will leave you financially satisfied yet emotionally unfulfilled. The financial benefits you reap can’t make up the time you devote to a job you don’t enjoy.
Unfortunately, success is often defined financially rather than by intangible facets like happiness, joy, or excitement. Ultimately, you go to work every day; you put time and effort into this work, so don’t settle by picking a career that doesn’t fulfill you.
We might hear the argument that jobs we’re passionate about are not those that make money, that money and happiness are mutually exclusive. The opposite is true. Do what you love, and the money will follow. Chase money and you’ll never feel rewarded.
The truth is, you can work a job you love and still earn a lot of money. Devoting yourself to what you love is still difficult. It’s as strenuous as the work of neurosurgeons and CEOs, but instead of dragging your feet into work, you’re working hard for something you love.
You work hard, you play hard—the same concept applies.
So, reflect on your interests, your likes, and your dream career that seems unachievable because it’s not a guaranteed six-figure salary. Contrary to popular belief, earning less money doesn’t make your work less valuable.
Not to mention, if you work hard enough at what you love, you can achieve a high salary as well—what’s the harm in doing more work when you genuinely enjoy it?
Devote yourself to what you love, what you’re passionate about, and what you believe in. Commit yourself to making that career work because it’s the one that makes you happiest.
Anyone can work a job with a high paycheck, but not everyone can say they genuinely love what they do.
Maddie is a third-year Sociology student and The Journal‘s Senior Lifestyle Editor.