Should My Passion Be My Profession? And Other Questions

When discussing careers and future plans with a wise and extremely positive friend, I was told to keep my passion my passion and do something else to make money, because once I start writing for money, all of the fun and passion turns into stress and overbearing deadlines. We spoke philosophically about this for a while and then we watched Friends With Benefits.

But what my friend said really stuck with me. Yes, being a professional writer for a newspaper or magazine can be fulfilling for a lot of people, but I’ve never been one for assigned topics with no wiggle room. I like to write in first person about my own life and thoughts, not in third person about things I don’t personally care about. Why would I ever submit myself to a world where I have close to no freedom with my thoughts and topic choice? I wouldn’t, so now I’m back to square one.

My friend encouraged me to look into careers like web design because I’m technologically inclined and detail oriented. This makes total sense, but the idea of it didn’t inspire me. Then I remembered how much I like to organize things and delegate tasks. When I was an editor in chief back in my college days, I weirdly enjoyed the clerical aspects of my job and I miss them terribly. So I think I’ve decided to skip grad school (I seriously can’t afford it) and revisit the world of e-mails, filing, scheduling and simply helping a business function efficiently. It’s a start at least. My friend recently became an administrative assistant for a company in Orange County and is ridiculously happy with her job and her life, and I’d like to be that way too.

Nevertheless, I will continue to write creatively while exploring my career options. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write a book so unbelievably fabulous that I’ll never have to have a “real” job ever again – J.K. Rowling style.

Here are some other questions that crossed my mind recently:
Do orgasms really cure headaches?
Is it really that bad to eat cheese enchiladas once a week?
In what language do cats think?
Would the world be better if money didn’t exist?
Should I read 1984 or watch How I Met Your Mother?
Is Pinterest a waste of time or a great way to expose myself to things I wouldn’t have seen otherwise?
Why are panty-lines socially unacceptable?
Should I really base the success of my writing on the number of likes my articles get?
Will my boyfriend be able to successfully toilet train my cats this week (please, God, let it happen)?
Is there really no such thing as a stupid question?

Image of my mom in the ’80s via

  • Carolina Rodríguez

    You should watch How I Met Your Mother, most definitely.

  • Karina Duran


  • Erin Miuccio

    People told me the same thing growing up. However, when I started my current job in a business education department, I finally found a happy medium that lets me write, proofread, and make a decent living. :) Good luck with your career search!

  • Carrie Murphy

    do you want to commiserate? because i am having the SAME.EXACT.DAMN.PROBLEM! we’re both lucky to be able to contribute to HG, but i am trying to figure out what i want my life to look life and i….uh…..don’t know! if you’d like to chat, message me on FB or get at me through my blog.

  • Mary Clare O’Sadnick

    Ahhh the life of RomComs, sappy teen movies, and SVU… thank you Instant Play <3
    i work in my line of passions as a product photographer and it's structured enough, with some exceptions, that my creativity still thrives inside and outside the work place since my personal and professional (art/photo) work differ in subject, emotion, and whatnot anyway! I think you should follow your dream and make your passion your career if you can; if you love something and are dedicated and passionate, damn you're going to be good at what you do AND be happy. and bad ass.

  • Amalia Pantazi

    When choosing a career, it’s important to take into account what you like doing and what you’re good at. If you like your job, you”ll probably live a happier life. But let’s face it, how much can one love their job? I think there’s a limit to that. It’s your job, which means that you have to make a living off of it, which means that it can get crazy stressful. It’s your job, which means that you’ll ahve to get things done, which means that you might be on deadlines or simply have to work when all you wanna do is roll around your bed and watch TV or go to the beach or party all night long and dance like there is no tomorrow. All that means that there have to be times when you’ll pretty much hate it, even just a bit. This is why I wouldn’t make one of my passions or even my hobbies my job. When I do something for fun, I do it for fun – if I do it for money, then it probably won’t be so fun anymore. I understand of course, that there are people (any kind of artist, for example) that have managed to make their passion their job. I consider them extremely lucky and I’m sure it takes a lot of patience and balance. That’s just not for me. I’m pursuing a career in law and keeping my hobbies in a completely different department, a shelter.

  • Irati Toscano

    But for me, the idea of not writing (which is my passion) to make a living makes the perspective of my life miserable. I don’t want to teach to stupid kids how to pronounce this or that or how to spell this or that…!
    So, if the first years I do have to write what others want and not my own things, it’s worth it because I know (I want to know) that in the end it’ll have some value and I’ll be an amazing creator of fantastic stories! :)

  • Khloe O’Campo

    I always thought I had passion, but realized I enjoy a little of a lot of stuff, which I had no idea how to craft into a career. Also, graduating with a BA in English didn’t provide a lot of job opportunities. Lo and behold, it was my parents that helped pave my path. After graduation I had two options, (ya, at 22 years old I was still the family pleaser), they would pay for law school or I would get a job at my alma mater and apply to grad school, so I could tuition would be covered. Well, skipping out on four different LSAT test preps after 3 weeks and breaking out with shingles the week before the LSAT was a huge indicator that law was not my chosen destination. Long story short, I found a happy medium working at my alma mater, so I completed my master’s degree in higher education without loans (extremely rare), promoted a few times and with that bought a house a little over a year ago :) So, it wasn’t my passion per se, but I found an interest in it and created a career path. My job has given me an incredible life balance. I enjoy my colleagues (a huge factor when applying to jobs is turnover rate), but I also am super excited to jet out of my office at 5pm and get home to my hubby and puppy. My job is not life or death, so I have fun while working, take a few moments for pinterest and hellogiggles :) and get my work done. I found a position where I can travel a little, write, talk to people all day and in the end I can leave it at my desk for the next day. My path has worked out because I took advantage of opportunties. Good luck!!

  • Lauren Fuchs

    I totally agree with keeping your passion and profession separate! And I’ve wondered about this same question A LOT! “Would the world be better if money didn’t exist?”

  • Samantha Jorritsma

    I agree too with keeping your passion(s) separate from your profession. I went to school for art and after graduating landed a graphic design job, which I thought would be a great fit. I eventually hated it because I HAD to do it and I usually had to sacrifice my own ideas and visions for the client. It also left me with no creative energy to do my own thing after work. Now I’m in a field that is quite the opposite of anything creative, but allows me to put my energy into the art I want to do without any of the pressures of deadlines and clients. I think it’s awesome if someone’s passion can become their profession and that they still enjoy it for the most part, but it’s not for everyone. Also, by taking the pressure off of turning your passion into a profession, and instead pursuing it outside of a work setting, it can sometimes develop into a really great thing: ie. writing a wildly successful novel (on your own terms), rather than writing required articles for a newspaper. Whichever route you choose, all the best in your pursuits :)

  • Maria Andrea Hernandez-Venegas

    “J.K. Rowling style,” this is my life ambition. Awesome article. A good, and that was a good one, Harry Potter reference is always a treat for me.

  • Rachel Feldbloom

    1-Only temporarily
    4-If it wasn’t money, it would be something equally evil
    5-Yes to 1984 and why not? to HIMYM
    6-It’s actually great for inspiration
    7-They’re tacky (things like short shorts are too, but they’re popular right now. Panty lines will have their moment of glory too)
    8-Hell no
    9-If only
    10-When you’ve asked something a bunch of times already, but zoned out during the answer (every single time) and then ask the question again – THAT is a stupid question.

  • Penelope Dawn

    Hmm a copy of 1984 keeps showing up on my couch and How I Met Your Mother keeps staring at me from my queue. Instead I watch Buffy because I don’t have to brain capacity to get into something new right now. (Also good excuse for blowing off 1984?)

    I agree with a previous poster; I couldn’t imagine a life where I could be happy NOT writing for a living. But I’m in a tricky situation where I was laid off from my last lame ass office job (which I actually enjoyed for a time) and I’ve just had my 2nd baby in as many years. I feel like I’d be doing myself (and my family) a disservice if I didn’t give this writing thing a real shot.

  • Jessie O’Neil

    Glad to have read your article while taking a break from working on my own mystical novel. Ahh the life of J.K. Rowling :)

  • Yoav Fisher

    Let me tell you my experience as someone who has been balancing between passion and real life (and writing for HG) for a long time. Yes in general to making your passion your career. BUT, and this is a MASSIVE but, it takes a very long time, frequently doesn’t happen to your satisfaction, rarely will cover the bills, and requires an obscene amount of sheer luck, timing, and knowing the right people.
    You must keep writing (or drawing, or ice skating, or whatever), and you can work on honing your passion into something economically sustainable, but you must be realistic about it as well, and try to find a balance between your passion and the reality and needs of day to day life.
    Hopefully over time you will find a niche that satisfies both needs (creative and financial), but until that happens you must pursue both the pragmatic and the passionate at the same time.
    Enough of my monologue, gotta put up my next HG post…

  • Meaghan Lanier

    This is why I decided not to get my MFA in creative writing. This is also why I decided to quit my M.A. program in Religion. I love writing. I love studying religion. I don’t want to do either of those things on other people’s terms or under pressure to publish, teach, etc. So I’m going to be a librarian, something I think I will love because I am also very detail-oriented, love organization, etc. And then do the things I love on my own.

  • Meaghan Lanier

    Here are some other questions that crossed my mind recently:
    Do orgasms really cure headaches?
    Not in my experience but normally if I have a headache I don’t feel like having sex, so I don’t know if I’ve successfully tested this theory.
    Is it really that bad to eat cheese enchiladas once a week?
    Probably not. I eat 1400 calories/day Mon-Sat and eat what I want on Sundays. I still lose 1.5lbs/week on average.
    In what language do cats think?
    No idea.
    Would the world be better if money didn’t exist?
    Maybe. But if money didn’t exist, something else would replace its function. So it depends on what that something else is. It could make the world better, worse, or the same.
    Should I read 1984 or watch How I Met Your Mother?
    Both are great and not very time consuming. How I Met Your Mother is much lighter and doesn’t cause you to think very much. If you’re in the mood to think and be slightly depressed, go for 1984.
    Is Pinterest a waste of time or a great way to expose myself to things I wouldn’t have seen otherwise?
    I think it is mostly a waste of time. I enjoy it but, just like with StumbleUpon, I think I will save all of these things and then never look at them again. Like, I’ll save a bunch of recipes and then never make the stuff. Ever. Which is exactly what happened with StumbleUpon. So I try to keep off of Pinterest for the most part.
    Why are panty-lines socially unacceptable?
    Because a lot of fashion choices are socially acceptable now, like leggings, which probably cause a lot of panty-lines. And because America now is more like, “Well obviously I’m wearing a bra and panties and everyone knows it, so why not advertise it as well?”
    Should I really base the success of my writing on the number of likes my articles get?
    No. I would base it off the comments. I only comment on articles I either love or violently dislike. I rarely “like” an article.
    Will my boyfriend be able to successfully toilet train my cats this week (please, God, let it happen)?
    I didn’t even know that was a real thing. I thought it was just on Meet the Parents. So maybe?
    Is there really no such thing as a stupid question?
    No. There are definitely stupid questions.

  • Sarah Noone

    I really needed to read a post like this after a day of job searching! Thank you :)

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