Are we trapped as a society to work for money and not passion? For status and not enjoyment?
“Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius.
But this is exactly my point, do we really have a choice?
My short answer, in my opinion, is yes we do. But I didn’t always think this way, and here’s why.
Life as a child is so short and so blissful. Children are full of innocence and curiosity for the world surrounding them. I remember days when making sure I ate all of my lunch and coloured in the full picture of a tiger were my biggest concerns. Fast forward 10 years and I’m 15, choosing my subjects for my first set of career decision making exams, which in the UK are called – GCSE’s.
It was at this stage that I realised that freedom was slipping out of my grasp, with my career’s teacher pining in my ear about how unemployable I’ll be without choosing a Science careerpath and with an older brother naturally adept for Bunsen burner lighting and nitrogen peroxide creating I figured I had to follow suit.
If you would’ve asked me what I truly wanted to be at 15, I may have had no clue. But would that have been necessarily wrong? I think back fondly and daydream about choosing to be a dancer or linguist but it makes me a little annoyed so I don’t do it often. I don’t mean to sound bitter towards an institutionalised system, I can’t blame them wholeheartedly for the decisions I made afterall. But there is something that has to be said for the influence of a teacher at these crucial stages of a child’s career choices. I remember a friend of mine, despite wanting to then be a doctor deciding not to choose biology because the teacher she had was incredibly rude to her. So already at a tender age, the schooling system has us in a choke-hold for what it means to be successful and for what it means to be socially squeezed out of a careerpath you may at one stage desired so greatly.
As I moved through the education system my subject were filtered evermoreso until I reached the point of finishing my grammar school at age 17 with 3 science subjects. At this stage it can be argued that regardless of the subjects I now had, I could go and be that dancer if I wanted to, sure, I could. But the linguist? My point being , I already chosen my fate. Out of passion, NO. But instead, out of fear. I’m not trying to put down science – I will always have an interest in it but just not as a full time career. Nor am I wholeheartedly putting blame on anyone else for my career choices, although I feel as a child, growing up, you are highly influenced by the adults around you. Adults of which, in my case, made me fear the idea of not being employed without a ‘respectable degree’.
I feel there is no better example where it is the stick over the carrot than in career choices for alot of us. “Oh it’s fine, it’s not what I love but it pays the bills.” We try to convince ourselves in the precious time left outside of the 9-5pm haul that we can make up for lost time by enjoying this period to the max. With the money we earn. This is where I wonder is money the carrot or the stick? More money more enjoyment or more money = more pressure?
I truly feel if money didn’t exist and we all pursued a career we were truly passionate about then productivity and performance levels would surpass the imaginable.
Is money the motivator in your career choices? Do you believe career choices for the majority are driven by fear (unemployment, status, quality of life) over passion?