Do NOT Follow Your Passion…

But bring it with you everywhere you go. This is the message in a favorite Mike Rowe “The Dirty Truth video.
I love my work at Align. I love helping people use money wisely and overcome fears about investing.

But ask any six-year-old on the playground what they want to be when they grow up. You won’t hear them say “a financial advisor!” I didn’t know I would love this work until I started doing it. And what I discovered is that my profession needs protective heroes. In other words, I DISCOVERED my passion for helping others in my work.

Today, I can’t imagine doing anything else. Or – wait – maybe I could see myself doing something else like running a pit bull rescue shelter or helping young people explore careers sensibly. The point is that my passion is for building expertise and using it to make other people’s lives better. I brought that passion in to my career. My soul is fed by my work.

But my tummy needs fed, too. You see, an empty belly is no good for filling your soul. And when it comes to career exploration, you’ll need to consider the practical side too. Are jobs plentiful in my “passion field?” Can I make enough money in my “passion field” to move out of my parents’ house? Is the investment I’ll make in education after high school going to be offset by the money I’ll make when I land my first job in my “passion field”?

In Lancaster County, a small percentage – maybe 15% or so – of our jobs require four or more years of post-secondary education. Yet over 70% of our graduating seniors head to college after high school. Nationwide, half of college freshman will drop out before they finish their second year. At the same time, parents are raiding 401k retirement savings to pay for education that may – or may not – get them employed in their “passion field.”

Here’s my tip when it comes to making money: find an industry that piques your interest, something that sparks your curiosity. Then, find a job doing something – anything – in that industry. Pour your passion in to a place that it doesn’t seem to belong. You might be surprised by what you’ll discover. As your interest grows and your passion is fueled, you may find yourself headed back to the classroom to become more of an expert in your newly discovered “passion field.”