Monday, November 24, 2008

What's The Point, Anyway?

There's so much confusion.

Some people tell me - now is the time to do what you really want, to get the education you want, to try for your dreams. And that those things are not impractical because they do something for me.

Some people tell me - be more practical. Doing what you want is nice, but it's a luxury and you should focus more on being able to get a job and really get somewhere in life.

What's the point of it all? Do I take opportunities as they come, even if they're not the most practical, because carpe diem? Because now is my chance?

Do I do what's most practical because it's what's most practical?

Is my end goal to do what I really want or to do what's most practical? Sometimes they're not mutually exclusive, but what if they could be?

What am I trying for here?


Ezzie said...

A wise man told me recently that you have to move along the path, and you'd be surprised where that path ends up leading you, from the people you meet to the work you do. It's not a simple straight path, but a wiggly one that keeps adjusting as life changes around you. But just sitting there waiting for a path to choose you probably won't get you anywhere.

G said...

Where lies happiness?

Bad4 said...

What are you trying for here? I would imagine that's the answer. :-P

It's odd, because I was at a Round Table at NYU a few weeks ago and the president said his daughter was facing the same dilemma: to continue pursuing art history and live on an income of about $30,000 for years after graduating, or to switch to something practical? Basically, "follow your passion" or "follow the money"?

It is a tough choice. I was lucky to find an alternate third route off to the side somewhere called "find something lucrative to get passionate about." It helped that I discovered that I wasn't all that passionate about the business application of my non-lucrative passion. ;-)

Ultimately, though, you gotta wonder how important it is. Meaning, how important a part is career going to play in your future? If not much, or if you can live on little, then why not enjoy yourself?

Ezzie said...

Bad4 - I can't resist, so... :P

Why the repetition? That's what G said. :)

Princess said...

I think there are three kinds of people (at least in terms of this issue):
1- people who go where the money is
2- people who follow their passions
3- people who find a nice balance between passion and money.

Of course, the ideal situation is probably #3. But I think that if you follow your passion, you might end up finding a balance completely unintentionally.

Douglas Adams once said (I think it was in one of the Dirk Gently books, but I'm not 100% sure), "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." So even if you don't know where a path will lead, you can still follow and see what happens. You'll probably end up where you're supposed to be, you just will have taken the scenic route to get there.

Being practical isn't for everyone. Just like not following a set plan isn't for everyone. People have different personalities and you need to figure out what's right for you.

RaggedyMom said...

Passion can be great fuel, and hopefully keep you going long after the "I am living my passion!" buzz wears off (inevitable).

It is important to do something you feel great and excited about. So long as you balance it with some degree of practicality and become rightfully skilled in your area of, er, passion.

Temper the enthusiasm with good advice (parents are good at that) and seichel regarding your choices, and the outcomes in which they may or may not result.

Gosh, I hope that made sense.

Erachet said...

Ezzie - Thanks.

G - Good question! I suppose it depends what one's happiness depends on - success? Or feeling like you're cultivating a talent? Making money and living comfortably? Feeling like you're utilizing your strengths to attempt to make some sort of difference? Or is that too idealistic?

Bad4 - I wish I knew. I'd like to enjoy myself and not be dirt poor at the same time, you know?

Princess - Also, thanks. Nice DA quote. :)

RaggedyMom - I hear. I don't even know what I feel passionate about.

G said...

Nobody can tell you what makes you happy and you're right that it can be found in both areas...hence the dilemma.

it's a long life and there is time/room for more than one path. I would only make sure that you feel/think whatever it is you feel/think about a given aspect of this issue because it is what YOU HONESTLY HOLD. I would hate to see someone decide on something because "well everyone else seems to think that this is important so then it MUST be to me too".

cultivating a talent - living large - utilizing strengths - making a difference...these are all valid things from which to draw happiness, just make sure they are from what YOU can draw happiness.

--re: too idealistic - perhaps, but i think we can use a little bit more of that these days:)

Bad4 said...

[Ignores Ezzie]

The thing about passions: sometimes, a passion can lead to an income. Think Martha Stewart. Many people just do what they like doing, and discover that people will pay them for it. That's how my cousin became the unofficial sushi takeout of South Bend, as a smaller example.
You don't need to choose it as a career. Because, as you know (or why would you be posting this) the well-treaded career path for most passions does not include a decent salary.

The alternative theory is espoused in Son of Interflux by the dad when he tells his wife that their son can become a CEO and hang his paintings on the office wall.

(Then again, my cousin the photographer married a lawyer and enjoys her career without the need to balance her books. Marrying rich is always an option.)

My point - I think Princess is right. You really can't tell where you're going to end up, so don't fret about it. Once you've made a choice, just stick with it.

Just try to make sure that if you choose the passion route that you're actually doing something you love, and if you choose the lucrative route, that you'll really earn more!

Ari said...

Some advice:

- Do something you truly love, and you'll never "work" another day in your life.

- Ideally, make sure it pays well enough (money can't buy happiness, but it sure helps), and has some sort of redeeming social value

- If not, then practice your passion "on the side" until you become proficient and confident

- Work only with other decent, kind people

- Share your toys and say "please" and "thank you" lots

- Break into a job you love by either interning, co-op'ing, or flattering a fellow alumnus / friend by asking for career advice

Erachet said...

G - Thanks. Great comment.

Bad4 - I hear you.

Ari - Do something you truly love, and you'll never "work" another day in your life.

True! :)

Work only with other decent, kind people

I hope that becomes the case, but I guess you can't always pick and choose the people you work with, can you?

Share your toys and say "please" and "thank you" lots


Ezzie said...

I hope that becomes the case, but I guess you can't always pick and choose the people you work with, can you?

You can, though you might have to leave/get let go from someplace in the process. Depends on what's important to you at the time.

G said...

G - Thanks. Great comment.

Not a problem...this is what i do;)