Passion or Pragmatism – which to follow when looking for a job?

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

May 23

If you ask around, you’re likely to hear that following your passion isn’t a good idea. Picking a sensible career over passion is something many people do without realizing that it’s their passions that make their lives worth living. Is it possible to combine passion and pragmatism? Or you just have to choose between the two? Here are 5 tips to help you in navigating between pragmatism and passion and jump-starting your exciting career.

1. Ask others what they think you’re good at

Asking people who know you and care about you for this type of information is a great idea. Family and friends are able to tell where your talents lie – and sometimes you might be surprised at the things they tell you. If you’re good at something and pursue it seriously, chances are that it will become your passion – this is how the world works. And this is also how you can successfully align passion and pragmatism.

2. Rethink your passion

So, you already know what your passion is and are now looking for a career that would allow you to pursue it while earning a living. However, always remember to take the limits of your perspective into account. Just because you’re a music-lover doesn’t mean that you should become a pop star.

Analyze what you really like about your passion and redefine what career success means to you.  Quite often these aspects can be easily translated into perfectly pragmatic career choices. Whatever makes you so enthusiastic makes a good fit for a career.

3. Do some internal reflecting

Following a passion is a matter of personal decision. Some people explore their passion for a few years and then decide to settle down. Others like to become financially independent first and then explore their passion with peace of mind. Many people are actually okay with doing a pragmatic job and dedicating their free time to their passions. Find out what type of arrangement you want and just go for it to see where your pragmatic and passionate interests converge.

4. Check how your friends are doing in their professional lives

An indisputable fact is that people we hang out with tend to rub off on us. Why not look at the occupations of people you know and see which job perks look interesting? This is something that helps to determine which career types fulfill your needs and fit your preferences. Ask friends about what it’s really like to work in their field and whether they would choose the same job again if they were given such an opportunity. That’s how you’ll know whether your passions and interests can match a career.

5. Plan it and prepare for taking serious risks

Many people believe that passion easily breeds success, but the reality is very different. Not only does it take a while to get there, that’s for sure, but you also need to support yourself in the meantime. If following your passion scares you and doesn’t guarantee an immediate success, just formulate a plan B and you’ll regain your confidence. If you’d like to become an actor, choose to study drama teaching as well – it will enrich your practice and offer you a safety cushion in case your acting career doesn’t take off as you’d like it to.

Before making a binding decision, weigh your risks carefully and consider all consequences of your choice. Do your homework and be fully prepared about what you’d like to pursue. If following your passion isn’t that risky, jump in and make the most from your time.

When it comes to choosing a career, passion and pragmatism aren’t really mutually exclusive. Follow these tips and you’ll see that it’s not impossible to align the two and lead a fulfilling professional life.


About the author:  With her passion for writing and several years of experience in marketing, Simone Smith supports Online Courses Australia, where she shares her stories about self-improvement and career pursuit. In her free time, she enjoys listening to business podcasts and audiobooks.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.