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.
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.
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.
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