Do what you love or do what pays

Creative Commons Photo Courtesy of Pictures of Money Flickr

Millennials are often forced to make a decision whether to work for money or work in the field they’re passionate about.

Tess Rempel

As millenials, we’re often left wondering: should we give up a high-paying salary for self-satisfaction, or sacrifice it to support ourselves?

The job market is a difficult hierarchy to climb, and for some, a barren system. Having passion in a career can drive success through motivation, and set workers apart from one another.

But, survival must come first, which sometimes requires putting passion aside; working in a stable but dry field, and prioritizing a life of comfort over one of fulfillment. While this idea opposes society’s push to pursue a passion-driven career, money is the only sure way to achieve financial stability.

Junior Madison Vigdor of Manalapan said that passion in a job is really more of a bonus than a necessity.

“People always say it’s great to work for passion, but you can’t feed your family with passion alone,” Vigdor said.

In a Jacobin article about expectations to work for passion, author Miya Tokumitsu said that, for some, the debate stems from privilege.

“‘Do what you love’ (DWYL) disguises the fact that being able to choose a career primarily for personal reward is an unmerited privilege, a sign of that person’s socioeconomic class,” Tokumitsu said. “Even if a self-employed graphic designer had parents who could pay for art school and cosign a lease for a slick Brooklyn apartment, she can self-righteously bestow DWYL as career advice to those covetous of her success.”

Although society insists on basing your career on this privilege, in reality, few people have passion for dull work, such as sanitation or maintenance. Yet, society needs these people, and such workers aren’t always able to or even aspire to achieve passion rather than stability in their line of work.

According to an experiment conducted by Stanford psychologists Carol Dweck and Gregory Walton, with former Stanford psychologist Paul O’Keefe, working for passion can even inhibit success.

The researchers observed 407 patients from two categories, one for those passionate about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, and the other for those passionate about the humanities.

After five experiments, in which participants viewed articles and videos on things that interested them and things that didn’t, it was concluded that participants with only one interest were less likely to understand and finish the media, translating to substandard job performance.

Working for passion is a luxury that not many can afford, but unless one is sure they can afford it, they should search for a job of financial, rather than personal, fulfillment.