Passion Vs Financial Security: Which Career Path To Choose?

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financial security, decisions
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There are endless options to choose from when it comes to deciding what ‘the rest of your life’ will look like. The options start dwindling by the time we reach the doors of college. At some point, all of us encounter the conundrum of either following your own heart, or going for courses that are more financially viable. Both paths are excellent choices that require a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication. If you’re finding yourself at a similar intersection in your life, Robert Frost’s two diverging roads in the yellow woods, I might have some unsolicited words of wisdom to impart on ye, O weary traveller.

Unlike Frost’s traveller, maybe you can travel both the roads, perhaps you have a passion in a field that also guarantees financial returns. A keen interest in cars teamed with a degree in automobile engineering does sound like paradise. A good samaritan going into public health; a win for everyone. If you’re not living in paradise, perhaps you can come to an understanding, compromise a bit: book lover going into copywriting or publishing, graphic designer with a decent paying advertising job. Turn your baking hobby into an entrepreneurial investment and start a small business. In the age of Instagram creators and Facebook Marketplace, everyone can make money by selling things they loved making.

But entrepreneurship is not exactly a smooth sail. It can either go well, and you can make a name for yourself, or your business can entirely fail leaving you in crippling debt. The inner sceptic kicks in, wondering if it will all be worth it. There’s nothing wrong with choosing stability. Not everyone has an appetite for brushing with poverty in the name of trying to make it as an artist. In this case, you are Frost’s traveller and you are sorry you can’t travel both the roads. Here comes the reckoning with your decision. The point is to make peace with whatever road you take, the path you choose. Every option has its merits and demerits. You have to weigh the pros and cons, and take into account your priorities, at every step. There’s no point in wondering about ‘what ifs’. All of it is a gamble.

Whether you have a good paying engineering job or not, happiness is never promised. But neither is unhappiness. Boris Pavlikovsky, a character in Donna Tartt’s ‘The Goldfinch’, asks two important questions, ‘Isn’t everything worthwhile a gamble? Can’t good come around sometimes through some strange back doors?’ And the answer is yes, everything worthwhile is a gamble. Stick to your music, standup, acting, dancing career. Keep going, it might or might not work out, but if you want to fight this fight then don’t let in any insecurities. Sometimes you come to realise that your hobby need not become your job, that you can work in a lawyer’s office and also come home to amateur painting. There’s grace and so much strength in this realisation. Don’t let your mind wander about what could’ve been if you’d taken up being a painter full time, you have a beautiful house and your friends and family love your painting. Honour your decisions.

That’s what matters in the end, that you stick by you, and support yourself through thick and thin. So, if you’re confused about which career path to choose, think about your priorities, and your privilege. Know that it’s always better to talk to people, because experiences speak a lot more than some article you found online. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to keep an eye out for the ‘good that can come through some strange back doors’.

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