4 Reasons I Chose To Stick With A Career I Don’t Love

Practicality runs is in my genes. However, living out a passion also runs in my genes. These two are constantly playing tug of war on my head, but I don’t want to get too metaphorical too soon.

I am currently in a job that is not uber exciting. I travel every week for work. Monday through Thursday I am jet-setting to a new city to work with a client and improve their financials. The work is semi-interesting, if you’re into problem solving like I am, and it definitely keeps me on my toes — constantly working with new people and new sets of business problems. But it’s definitely not glamorous, and it’s certainly not passion driven.

The travel gets old, and I consistently miss home. I never realized how much I like a daily/weekly/monthly routine until I started this job. A lot of my friends are in jobs that are filled with passion, as well as jobs that don’t take up a lot of their free time. My job is not my passion, and takes quite a bit of my personal time up, but there are a few reasons I’m deciding to ride this career out a bit longer.

As I said before, both different paths are in my genes. My dad owns a business that is not in the most exciting field, but that awards him a great salary and a chance to be his own boss, make his own schedule, and build something from the ground up. The industry may not be his dream, but since his passion lies in golf and spending time with his family, his career gives him time to do that. My mother, on the other hand, has worked in politics, education and social work. These jobs have fulfilled a lot of the passion she has, and although they didn’t pay her a ton — she’s been content with enjoying the work she does everyday, and having time to herself.

Now, one day I might decide to live my passion, and one day I may decide to start a business in something that is lucrative, but not super exciting — we shall see, as I’m still quite young. For now, I’ve decided to work on this career and make the most of it, even though it is in no way my dream job. I’ve tugged back and forth about this decision for a while (and nothing is ever final), but I am at peace with my decision to really go balls to the wall with this career for a while, even if it’s not my passion, for a number of reasons.

1. Money

This is The Financial Diet, right? Did you really think I wouldn’t be saying this? It may sound shallow, but read this whole website, and then tell me what you think. Money helps with happiness, at least for me. It allows me freedom and it gives me independence. I’m fortunate that my job pays really, really well, especially for my age range, and will give me the opportunity to pay off all of my debt quickly and save up quite a bit along the way. So, I have to look at financial models for a couple hours a day? That feels okay when you know that you aren’t living off credit cards, or worried about how you will pay your bills.

2. Flexibility

My job has weekly travel, but also open a lot of doors for flexibility otherwise. Friday are work-from-home days, and often much lighter work-wise than the days we spend traveling. When I am traveling to an exciting city, I often have the chance to stay there for a weekend and explore. We have remote weeks where we don’t have to travel, and we have the option to work from home. This is more of a decent balance — because my normal weeks are pretty jam-packed, and I’m not able to have my normal home routine, or see my friends and family throughout the week. However, come Friday morning when I can take a conference call in my pajamas, coffee in bed and walk my dog during lunch, I feel a bit better about all the travel.

3. Future Investment

As I said, this job pays really well. With that comes a great 401k plan, and a way for me to save more in my IRA. These are investments for my future self, because if one day I do wake up bored and unhappy and decide I want to turn my career into a passion project, I can (hopefully) do so. Not only that, I am investing in the skills that make me marketable to a future employer. I make a damn good PowerPoint, and I’m not scared of public speaking. I have a knack for making data and analytics easy to understand to someone not in technology. These are things I learned at this job, and they may not be things that I will always use in the future, but they are pretty universally sought after in the workplace.

4. I don’t know what my passion job would be

Now for the real kicker — I don’t know exactly what I want to get into in the future, and which passion I really want to follow through with. This job allows me the time to figure that out. I care immensely about women’s healthcare rights and the political landscape. This are will probably be what I eventually want to get into. But how? Maybe I want to run for office, maybe I want to become a lobbyist, maybe I want to start a non-profit. I’m not really sure yet, and I don’t really know what my passion job is. That is all okay. This job affords me some time to think about it, figure it out and make a plan. And maybe I will always work in finance, and work on my passion on the side instead. Who knows?

*****

I know not everyone has these things in common with me, and a lot of people are working at a job just to get by and pay the bills — that is great and commendable. You are doing what needs to be done to get shit done. Not everyone has to work their dream jobs, and not everyone even has the opportunity to. It really is okay to say, “Maybe I don’t love this, but it affords me to live and eventually do the things I love,” or “This is not my dream job, but I am able to pay rent in a neighborhood I love and have the opportunity to travel,” or even “This isn’t that fun, but my bills get paid and I can find passion in other ways.” One size does not fit all, and no one has to do a job for any other reason than it makes sense to them. I am living proof of that.

Alice prefers to use a pen name. 

Image via Unsplash

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  • Jack

    This article resonates so much with me. I have a job that’s not super interesting but I love my coworkers and the fact that I have a regular schedule. Every third Friday off, and coming up to 4 weeks vacay now.
    Because the internet is often all about FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS, I think I’m doing it all wrong, then I remember how much I like having a paycheque, and if I wasn’t doing this….what would I do? I like that I have time to fufill personal passions outside of work, and that work is just that…work.

    • Adila

      your job sounds awesome what do you do?

      • Jack

        I work in Records Management at a non profit. After a year you can apply for flex days, so I just work half an hour extra each day to get every third Friday off. It’s nice!

  • Court E. Thompson

    ALL OF THIS!
    A friend and I were discussing last fall how we both work jobs that aren’t the most stimulating but they give us stability, insurance, retirement plans, and the chance to build meaningful lives outside of work. Is working your passion a great idea? Sure! But for a lot of people it’s not a responsible reality.
    I loved this piece!

  • Robyn

    I really like this article! I also work a job that I don’t love (but also don’t hate!) I work in content analytics at a publisher and while it’s not my dream, I love the people I work with and the company culture. I have my own jewelry business on the side (which is my passion) and my boss is super understanding if I need to leave early to pick up supplies, finish an order, or meet with buyers of a store. My job pays well and allows for me to be able to indulge in all the things I love outside of work. While I may not do my passion for my 9-5, I know I have it pretty good!

  • Pepper Ann

    Great article ! I am often a victim of all articles everywhere on the Internet about the “Living your passion or you’re a total looser”. Its great to remember that it’s not true. I have a job that is quite well. I like my coworker, I have good advantages and I’m interested in what I do even if it’s not my passion.
    I think that the problem is that those articles make us feel that if we don’t think about our work every minute of the day, don’t write articles about it, don’t spend our evenings or week-ends at meetings or conferences about it, we’re not passionate enough.
    Personnaly, I like to do my job but it’s not all my life. I like to do it during the time set for it, which is already the major part of my day. The rest of the time is for me to do whatever I want.

  • I don’t know

    Great article, resonates with me as well. But what does “living your passion” actually means? I am passionate about journalism and good storytelling. But I do not work as a journalist, I am running a media organization. I am actually building up environment for journalist to do their best work. Is that living my passions? Especially if you know what means to run an organization and how not-so-funny-and-passionate a lot of those necessary tasks are? Would living my passion mean stepping down from my current position and start working as a journalist again?

  • Mia

    I think that the popular “follow your passion” advice works only for some people who either have huge financial support from their family and are willing to take it, or for those who want to prioritize career.
    Personally I was raised to see value in a profitable job. If it brings you money, you obviously have the skills and knowledge in this area. If you know how to apply what you have in order to secure yourself and your family financially, that is a huge success and it does make you happy overall, even if you struggle sometimes( as we all do).

  • sovotchka art

    Thank you for this article! I feel ready to switch companies, but after reading tons of advice felt like ‘cheating on my passion’ by continuing to go for another job. But if doing this job and doing sth else in my free time works for me, I should not feel guilty. People have different paths!

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