There is a great deal of talk these days about the importance of finding a job you love. Seems like every blog I read, every personal development web site, every talk show is talking about pursuing your passion and making a living doing it. But CareerBuilder.com says that 84% of all workers are not currently employed in their dream job. Businessweek even looked at this phenomenon in their January 21, 2008 issue, called The Perils of Following Your Bliss. I’ll address some of the points in that article.
You should always strive to insure that your personality characteristics line up well with your occupation. If you’re a “people person,” you won’t be happy in a two person office where one is the boss and you’re the other one. If you love crunching numbers, you probably won’t be happy working the sales floor at a department store in the mall. If you enjoy being creative and in control, you will not be happy working on an assembly line. The thing to remember is that every one of these positions exactly matches up with someone else’s personality traits. The key is to find out what you enjoy and then find a position that aligns with your personality. To find out more about yourself, read Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself.
In an ideal world, following your passion would be great. We could all make a living at home, blogging away, or hiking in the mountains, or making cute little jewelry boxes, or raising dachshunds. The problem is, we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in the real world. IT IS possible to love what you do, but I think all the talk about “following your passion” is a little overdone. Here’s why:
What you enjoy on a small and personal level can easily become a mechanical, boring, and frustrating experience on a large scale, the scale that you’ll need to replace your income. If you enjoy turning small pieces of wood into beautiful pens, how would you like to do that 10 hours per day for five or six (or seven) days per week? How would you like to pursue the sales opportunities with retailers and distributors, the accounting, the receivables, the payables, collecting on past dues, dealing with suppliers, and handling employees? Sure, if you’re selling 1,000,000 units per month you can afford to outsource a lot of the office management, but it will take a long time to get there.
The drop in income can be catastrophic if you’re not well capitalized. Is there enough demand for your passion to support your need for a full time income? How much demand is there for ceramic bluebirds? Is there a demand for your personal experience with Human Resources? Once you spend the marketing money to get your name publicly known, will there be anything left? Don’t make a move based on emotion. It’s embarrassing to go crawling back.