by Shawnong

Having met up with the 404 guys frequently, the inevitable discussions of our future career paths have helped me re-evaluate my decision to transfer to JC and the reasons behind it.

Seeing my friends with vastly different strengths/interests/passions, I wonder what they will pursue in Uni and beyond. Will they turn their hobbies into careers, or will their hobbies remain as hobbies? Does the notion of turning your passion into work, hold water in the face of realism?

I have had dabbled with this idea many times before. I was once a firm believer in that idea, and anyone else who did otherwise was a sellout. And because of that line of thinking, I had a large disdain for corporate workers.

However, I have come to realise that the idea of turning your passion into work may be quite disillusioned. The perfect example of this to me would be entrepreneurship; people who create businesses based on turning their intangible ideas into concrete reality. A few names jump to mind immediately; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

The picture of monetising your passion and living life never having to work a single day if you are doing what you love is illustrated based on a few individuals. These success stories are glorified on a pedestal and perpetuated throughout our culture which paints a very naïve and romanticized version of doing what you love for a living. And for the few success stories we have seen, legions of failures or people destroying their lives by following this path we have not considered, or made the effort to.

The notion is flawed not because of the natural supply and demand phenomenon or that society falls nicely into a bell-curve when plotted on two axes, but it is flawed also because we may not derive happiness based on doing something.

Most of us will get bored doing something we “love” for the rest of our lives, and most of us do not even know where our interest really lies.

Secondly, our actions are largely motivated by secondary reasons. Consequences, results and end-goals. I think our actions should come from a more fundamental place, driven by our primary character. What values do we uphold, who are we? Only then can we adequately consider the secondary factors when choosing a career path.

For example, becoming a lawyer purely because of prestige and financial success may not be the right reasons for going into law. But maybe going into law because you want to uphold integrity and justice and fight for the right cause, coupled with the prestige and financial freedom, will be a more sensible decision.

Pursuing music because of fame and attention may not be wise as compared to using your voice as a vehicle to raise awareness or promote better values or help people feel better when they are down, because you are an inherently kind person.

Choose something based on values true to yourself and not predicated on the opinions of those around you. The primary factors should be sound before the secondary factors are considered for a sensible and wise decision to be made imo.

At the end of the day, joining the rat-race in the corporate world, or busking at the side of the road selling music are both right and wrong. It all comes down to choices. Choices based on what you think is right, choices you will not regret when you are old, and choices you can wake up excited and go to bed satisfied with. Choices YOU make.

There are 2 kinds of people in this world, those who can choose, and those who cannot.