I’m a writer, so I’d say I’m more than a little biased when it comes to this question. I’ll admit what won’t be a big shock to anyone: writers don’t make a lot of money.
Of course there are exceptions to this rule (I’m looking at you, Stephen King) but I’m not the exception. Still, I can tell you this—I’m happy. Do you know what wouldn’t have made me happy? The Business degree I considered pursuing. Adulthood comes with bills and rent and many more things that require money. You’ll need to have a job that pays, but I don’t think you need to sacrifice your happiness entirely to find it.
Here’s my argument: you won’t be good at a job you don’t like.
I took three business classes and I hated them. I passed the classes, but I would never say I excelled at Statistics.
While you can learn a trade or a skill, that doesn’t make you good at it. You’ll just be getting by. There won’t be any motivation to succeed, or to continue to grow in the company. Employers can sense that. If you don’t want them, chances are they won’t want you. Even if you’re able to fake it, what kind of life is that? Yes, you’ll get a paycheck, maybe even a really big one, but you’ll spend most of your time earning it.
Most of your day will be devoted to work, it should be required that you tolerate it.
There are of course cons to this way of thinking.
If you’re looking at degree options with your parents they might roll their eyes when you say you want to study Philosophy, or that your end goal is to be a poet. It’s up to you to prove them wrong. Research what options will be available to you in that field. Come up with a plan B that will help while you pursue plan A.
Will you make money selling your poems? Probably not. Can you continue to sell your poems while also working at a job you enjoy? Of course.
Here’s my second argument: life’s too short to work a job you don’t like.
Like I’ve been saying, you probably won’t be a successful funeral director if you’ve always dreamed of pursuing theatre. I’m not saying it’s time to quit your day job to pursue the stage. Be practical about your dreams. That may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s not.
Find ways to keep your passion alive, but don’t lose sight of reality. I can’t quit my job to try out for The Voice because I have a terrible singing voice. I could, however, try and find a way to keep music a part of my daily life if music was my passion. There are plenty of jobs in the industry that don’t involve my voice and a microphone.
I’m going to quote Hannah Montana but I mean this without a hint of irony, “Life’s what you make it.” (So let’s make it rock!)
It’s cliché, but it’s true.
If you’re truly passionate about something, there is a reason. Pursue it. Don’t ignore your call. Don’t write off your dreams, no matter how totally absurd. People see the two as separate: passion or paycheck. That’s not the case. You have options, and if you look hard enough, you can find your place. So whether you’re looking over a list of degree options or scanning the job ads in desperation, remember what you love.
Don’t cast it aside.
Find a way to bring that happiness into your daily life—it’s possible and it’s worth it.