It’s a happy but rare occasion when what you want to do with your life completely aligns with what your friends and family members want you to do. More often than not, someone in your life – usually your parents – will have their own ideas about what they think you should be doing, whether it’s becoming a doctor or trying to keep your family business alive.
But if you have your heart set on becoming an architect or a musician, what should you do? Is it better to do what you want or to do what you’re told? To “Listen to Your Heart” a la Roxette or to channel the cast of High School Musical and “Stick to the Status Quo”? Obviously the decision will differ for each person, but here are some general pros and cons to think about when trying to choose.
You’ll be Doing Something You Love
This one’s the most obvious, but it’s probably going to be a pretty big factor during your decision-making process. Even if the career you go for isn’t the one you end up involved in your entire life, would you rather spend years working and studying to achieve a goal you actually care about or one that you couldn’t care less about?
Passion Pays Off
Even if you’re pursuing a job in an industry that isn’t exactly known for being easy to get into (i.e. the music industry, the film industry), remember this – a lot rides on a good first impression. Say you’re an aspiring writer and you’re on your way to a job interview for an accounting position at your local bank. Will the person interviewing you really believe that you care about the job you’re applying for? Enthusiasm and passion can only be faked to a certain extent, and a lot of employers will likely be able to see through that kind of act. If you’re applying for a writing position, however, the field will probably be a lot more competitive but your passion is more likely to shine through both in person and in your writing samples. Employers want people who care about their job – they’re more likely to be more productive and to come up with innovative, creative ideas.
Avoiding the Midlife Crisis
From what I’ve seen and heard, most (or at least many) people who have had a midlife crisis have experienced feelings of doubt and regret about their life choices. They often feel bored or unstimulated and do something showy and extravagant (like have an affair or buy an expensive car) to make up for a lifetime of bad decisions. And choosing to pursue a career that they don’t feel passionately about can contribute to these feelings.
Disappointing the People Around You
Whether it’s your mom and dad, your grandparents, or your best friend, going against the wishes of someone you love is hard. You’ll feel bad, they’ll feel disappointed – negative feelings all around. Sometimes they’ll get over the disappointment quickly, though.
Potential Financial Instability
Usually (though not always), one of the reasons why loved ones might be reluctant about encouraging you to pursue your dream job is because it’s risky. Doctor vs. artist, lawyer vs. chef – it’s an age-old story. Making it big in the medical field is probably going to be easier than becoming a successful artist, and your friends and family members know it.
Have you ever been in this situation? What decision did you make?
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