I recently read an article on Huffington Post entitled “Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is Bad Career Advice.” I was immediately drawn in by the title. I’m so sick of the millennial generation feeling the need for their work to be their passion. I really think this stems from parents and teachers telling millennials “you can be anything you want to be.” Sorry, but that’s just not true. Even if I wanted to be, I’m not going to be a doctor or Olympian. I’ll be honest, my worst grades were in my science classes (with the exception of Geology: rocks for jocks!). We know I trained with Olympic swimmers, but even at my peak I was never going to be Olympic caliber, no matter how much I loved the sport. Life doesn’t work like that.
The article quotes Monique Valcour, a professor of management at EDHEC Business School in France. Her main point is we should find “sustainable careers.” Something that makes use of the skills we have, urges us to develop new skills, and among other things, provides a work-life balance. This is not what we were told growing up, hell that’s not what we’re told now. We’re told to love what you do, make your passion your life’s work. But, I truly believe, a job can just be a job. My father always says “No one wakes up and says ‘I’m going to fun today.’ No they say I’m going to work!”
Currently my job is my escape from lupus. It’s 8+ hours a day where I’m distracted from the fact that I have this horrible illness. It’s 8 hours a day where my co-workers know me as Kristin, the account executive. Is my job my passion? No. I had that job and because of lupus I couldn’t keep up. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not happy now. I’m good at what I do; I’m valued by my company; I’m able to take a lunch break and be home in time for dinner; I’ve found a balance in my life; I’m able to take care of myself physically while still bringing home a paycheck.
If you can find a job where you can manage lupus while following your passion – great! But, with so many patients not able to work, finding a job that doesn’t worsen your symptoms, offers health insurance, and pays the bills is enough. Make yourself and your health your passion. You’ll be much happier I promise.