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Career Dilemma: Work for Money or Passion?

December 1, 2017

Do what you love? Or do what pays well? 

This dilemma has been an ongoing debate for ages, with strong supporters from both sides of the spectrum arguing that their answer is, in fact, the better one. In a world where the cost of living continues to rise steadily, what should you do? Is pursuing your passion the right path to take? Is doing what pays well the better option? 


Check out what other students think about this topic here!

Follow Your Passion – Do what you love

  • A career is a life-long journey. Working from 9 to 5, five days a week for 40+ years can become pure agony if you’re doing something that you don’t love. You only have one life, are you ok with spending a big part of it doing something you aren't passionate about?

    “The secret to happiness is to be working at your passion. If you want to be miserable, lead a desperate life like everybody else where they drag their asses to work every day because they hate their job.” ― Yvon Chouinard, CEO of Patagonia, a passionate mountain climber who climbed his way into success


  • Imagine doing something that you absolutely love and that gives you a sense of purpose for the same 40+ years. Do what love and you won't have to work a single day in your life. In the words of Simon Sinek, "do work that you'd do for free."

    ​"Find something you love to do so much, you can't wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again." ― Chris Gardner, a once homeless multi-millionaire stockbroker


  • You will be more successful when you do what you love. You will be able to relate to it more. You will also care about it more. This combination will naturally make you more productive and make work easier for you. You will be able to fight through obstacles and excel in your role better compared to someone who doesn't love the work. You will be more willing to go the extra miles to complete your tasks and achieve your goals. Success doesn’t come easy. But when you’re doing what you love, it becomes easier. Much easier.

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle." ― Steve Jobs, ex-CEO of Apple

Follow The Money - Do it for the salary

  • Often times your passion won’t necessarily generate enough income. Thousands of people love singing and have great voices but how many of them actually make it to the big stage to earn enough income to sustain the lifestyle that they want?

  • The faster you accumulate money, the earlier you can retire. When you invest your money early, you will earn interest that you wouldn’t have earned if you had followed your passion and finally save up enough in your later days. These investments could multiply into many many dollars that would enable you to retire earlier.

"To find work you love, don't follow your passion" ― Benjamin Todd, CEO of 80,000 Hours

  • You have a clear purpose when you work strictly for money. You know that when you go to work, you’re there to fulfill your duties and earn what you deserve. You won’t be distracted by your passion. The rules of the game are clear and you'll know what you need to do to maximize your earning potential.

"Follow your passion' is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get" 
Mark Cuban, billionaire entrepreneur and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks


  • You want to pursue your passion, but you need money. One is a need, the other a want. Why not satisfy the need first before tackling the want? Work until you have the security of a few years of savings, then spend time pursuing your passion without worrying about your finances. How can you enjoy your passion if faced with financial stressors every day?

“I went into the business for the money, and the art grew out of it. If people are disillusioned by that remark, I can’t help it. It’s the truth.” — Charlie Chaplin



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