Inside Jobs Blog

Career Debate: Is “Do What You Love” Bad Career Advice?

Career Advice | August 08, 2012


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Do what you love. Follow your passion. Find your bliss.

When you’re making decisions about your future or your career, is “do what you love” the best—or absolutely worst—advice you can get?

If you Google this phrase, you’ll discover there’s a raging debate. Some people think it’s totally impractical—passion should play second fiddle to more important factors, like paying bills. Others believe you can’t lead a successful life without finding work that you absolutely love. And some fall somewhere in the middle.

We’ve scoured the web and brought back some of the most vocal and interesting opinions, so you can decide for yourself. Who do you agree with?

Yes, It’s Bad Advice

Careers Decisions Should Be About The Kind of Life You Want, Not Your Passions
Career decisions are not decisions about what do I love most. Career decisions are about what kind of life do I want to set up for myself.

So if you are overwhelmed with the task of “doing what you love” you should recognize that you are totally normal, and maybe you should just forget it. Just do something that caters to your strengths.
Penelope Trunk

Passion Has a Shelf Life
Very few of us are fortunate enough to turn any of our passions into lifelong vocation. In fact, very few of us pursue ANY of our passions for a lifetime including hobbies, careers – even relationships.

So, knowing this is the case for 99% of us, why is passion such a driver in our professional lives? Could it be that we’ve been sucked into “passion” while failing to realize that even our deepest passions have a limited shelf life?
Mark Babbit

Follow Your Effort, Not Your Passions
“Follow Your Passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get. Why ? Because everyone is passionate about something. Usually more than one thing… Those passions aren’t worth a nickel.

If you really want to know where you destiny lies, look at where you apply your time … Don’t follow your passions, follow your effort. It will lead you to your success, however you define it.
Mark Cuban

No, It’s Great Advice

Doing What You Love Leads to Happiness
My parents never once questioned the practicality behind my passion, even when I had to scrape together gas money and regarded dinner at Taco Bell as a big night out.

Find the thing you love. You might not make it to the top, but if you are doing what you love, there is much more happiness there than being rich or famous.
Tony Hawk

The Only Way To Do Great Work is to Love What You Do
You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
Steve Jobs

Big Changes Come from People Who are Passion
The greatest change happens because of people that are deeply passionate, and have a great love for the work they do.

If you want to make a difference in the world, the single most important thing you can do is consciously and deliberately choose to do work that you are passionate about. No other choice can have a greater impact on the planet, or your life.
Jonathan Mead

Maybe It’s Somewhere in the Middle?

What You Care About + What People Will Pay Your For = Success
There’s overlapping space between what you care about and what other people are willing to spend money on. Not everything that you are passionate about or skilled in is interesting to the rest of the world—and not everything is marketable.

I can be very passionate about eating pizza, but no one is going to pay me to do it. But in the overlap between the two circles, where passion or skill meets usefulness…freedom and value can thrive.
Chris Guillebeau

OVER TO YOU
Do you think following your passion is a good idea? Tell us your opinion in the comments!