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A Day Job vs. Your Passion

Posted on 08 March 2011 by Cheryl Joy

Every year we celebrate the Independence day – the day our country was free from foreign rule and dominance. Over the years this day has come to mean a lot to some and not so much to others, who have been born into a new age that has always seen freedom and never revered it. Yet as I think about the word ‘freedom’ and all that it denotes, I am urged to ask the question- how many of us are really ‘free’?

There are so many among us that do an engineering degree solely because their parents want them to, so many who become doctors just because that seemed like the only ‘socially acceptable profession’ at the time. And in all this what we refuse to acknowledge is that slowly, one by one, we choose to give up our freedom, our right to choose. That said and done, I do not propagate a life without direction- here my sole purpose is to bring about some thought in the minds of the reader, about passion.

Passion can be defined as the zeal, energy and fervor that fills us when we do something from the heart. It is something that forces us to do our best even without feeling like a definitive effort is being made to do it. And this is the one thing that is lacking in most professions today- passion, doing something solely for the love of it. For all the people who think that such talk is good in books and articles and doesn’t work in real life, please read on.

There have been many people who have left regular well treaded paths to follow their dreams, and there have been many more who have been successful. If an attempt is made to highlight the many who have not made it far, all I can make of it is that they just didn’t want it that bad. For a life lived with passion and a career fuelled with it can never be incomplete or unfulfilling.

This said and done, I would not want to romanticize the idea of following your dream without highlighting the practical implications associated with it. To follow your dreams, it is important to know exactly what the dream is and what it involves. While it is wonderful to know what one wants to do, without having a fixed plan of how to achieve it, all attempts made are pointless. This more so if the chosen career path is something unconventional which is the case more often than not. An unconventional career path makes it imperative to clearly rationalize the pros and cons associated with following it. This alone can give an individual the idea whether he or she should tread this path or choose to continue in the same path as others follow.

Another aspect of following your passion is to never move away from the original goal in mind. Small successes and failures do not indicate anything as long as you are focused on achieving the bigger aims that have been set for oneself. This works both ways. There can be times when a chosen career path seems fraught with difficulties- in such a situation it is important to persevere and refuse to give up. In the other scenario, there can be chances that one finds quick success, but assuming that it would last and going back on efforts would go nowhere and perseverance and consistency is key in this scenario as well.

At this point I would like to mention that I do not hate day jobs. They are great in their own right as they give an individual a certain amount of security that following a passion or an unconventional choice, might not allow. This ensures that stress levels are lower and can work well for most people. But it has its own share of pit falls and so this is not a case of either or. A day job can also be extremely beneficial in the initial stages when a person is following his or her passion as it can support the person through the struggle period. It lends the required stability and security which can help the person focus on following his or her passion simultaneously, till a point where it can be followed completely.

I have always been influenced by a saying I read about as a child. It went like this-“Find a job you love and you won’t have to work a single day of your life.” I have read many books and met many people after that day, but this saying continues to be a hallmark statement in my life. This is the reason for this article as well. As the very intelligent person who came up with this quote put it, there could be immense stress involved with following your passion in the initial stages, times filled with hard work and extra efforts but once that struggle period has been overcome there is a point from where a job ceases to be just that and becomes an extension of yourself. This I mean in the best way possible. It is a key tenet that should be followed by all those who believe in their passion. I live by it, every single day.

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