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First Things First: Passion or Practicality?

First Things First: Passion or Practicality?

By Kerry Martin

September 04, 2008

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This was easy to answer when we were kids: “I want to be a ballerina. An astronaut. A racecar driver. A doctor. A teacher. Superman.” As we get closer to becoming adults, people expect our answers to that question to be more realistic. We are supposed to be practical rather than follow our passions.

There are some basic pieces of reality that must be considered in career choices, such as grades, test scores, natural ability, motivation, economic trends, opportunity, finances, etc. But far too often, I see people ignoring their passions—the first part of the career-planning equation—and losing their connection to what they really enjoy. Yet as we listen to people talk about what has made them successful, it usually relates to finding something they truly love to do.

“I think I’ve been successful, because I loved the job.” — Katie Couric, broadcast journalist “Most successful people enjoy their work. The real issue is not what’s ‘hot’ but what you like to do.” — Jeffery Allen, writer “I didn’t become an actor to develop a personality cult or to get power over people. I went into this because it’s fun—because it’s a great way to make a living.” — Tom Hanks, actor (Quotes from Major in Success by Patrick Combs)

Pay Attention to What You Find Enjoyable

What interests you most or captures your imagination? What classes do you get the most from? What jobs sound interesting to you? Write them down and keep a career options list where you’ll see it often.


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