The Luxury of a Career that You Love

I’ve had a couple of queries from some people I know about my choice to continue to pursue my grad school education in the face of our financial situation. Their logic is that I should get a 2nd job (and maybe a 3rd) to pay down the debt instead of pursing more education. Of course, my degree program is pretty specialized and if I’m able to work in my field, I’ll actually probably make less money than I do now – that’s what the non-profit world is…sacrifice. So, in a way they have a point.

But I’m still stuck in this idea that we should be able to work in the areas that we love and pursue the work that fulfills us as a person. I think a speaker I saw once called it “Marrying your vocation with your avocation.”

My questions are as follows – is this mindset part of an obsolete reality? Is it no longer “wise” or “advisable” to seek the career that you love? Has the world’s economy changed so much that we should be seeking work opportunities that promote financial “security” and upward mobility? Or, are things so bad that we should just be thankful for the jobs that we have and shut up?

I work a 8-5 M-F job that is probably considered a career for about 1/2 of the people in my job classification. I do not consider this a career for myself, it is a job. It is a job that requires a latitude of skills, and I certainly enjoy knowing that my work supports significant changes for our community and society. The non-profit I work for does wonderful things and that often makes it more “worth it” to cool my heels there while working on my Masters.

That’s great and all, but I just can’t see myself here in another 5 years. Today is my 5 year service anniversary, and I’m grateful for the job and the environment in which I work. But I know that I won’t be happy here long-term, because I won’t be pursuing the work that I love.

Have you struggled with this kind of question, too?

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