Does your major match your passion? If it doesn’t, then it needs to. If it does, then your entire career could end up being an incredible adventure. But if it doesn’t, you may be setting yourself up for a future of career dislocation.
Why is passion so important, and why should your major reflect it?
You’ll be working most of your adult life, so…
When you read some financial blogs, you can easily get the impression that you’re going to go from university to retirement in a few short years with some strong planning and funding efforts. But that’s the TV version of life – or maybe the blog version. In the real world, there will be about 40 to 50 years of full-time work to get through first.
And that’s the point – do you want to merely “get through it”, or do you want to live it and enjoy it?
The answer should be obvious. But the only way you’re going to really enjoy your life is if you’re doing work that you truly like – work that you feel passionate about. You’ll get a great big head start on that if you begin following your passion now. That will mean matching your university major with whatever your passion is.
You’re likely to earn more money doing what you loveThe news only gets better when it comes to following your passion. If you are doing work that you do actually love, you are likely to make more money doing it. If you doubt that, just look at people like Mark Zuckerberg. He dropped out of Harvard to pursue his passion and brought us Facebook.
I’m not saying that you’re likely to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and I’m certainly not implying that you should drop out of school. What worked for Zuckerberg won’t work for you or anyone else, but the basic idea is worth following – he achieve great success by pursuing his passion. You can get that ball rolling right now by aligning your major with your passion.
A driving passion supported by a strong, related education can open a lot of doors early in your life, and keep you moving at an extraordinary pace for a very long time. It stacks the odds in your favor, and that is at least part of where the potential for greater income enters the picture.
You can suffer career burnout if you don’t
When beginning university, many students take on majors that they feel no better than lukewarm about. Perhaps that is where their parents or guidance counselors advised them to go. But if you are in a major that will lead to a career that you’re not excited about, you’re very likely setting the stage for career burnout later in your life.
Everyone experiences job or career burnout at some point during their lives, even people who are doing work they love. The difference is that those who are pursuing their passion are more likely to be able to work through the crisis, and to go on and prosper. Those working in careers they are not excited about will usually feel the worst effects of burnout. It is even possible that they can eventually become ineffective in the career, leading to an involuntary departure as a result of an employer dismissal.
It also seems that career burnout is coming earlier in life. Where it once waited for middle age, many people are now burning out in their 20s after only four or five years in a career. It may be that expectations are higher than ever by the employees themselves, or that employers are now demanding more of their workers. Whatever the reason, career burnout is something to keep on the radar screen. A career related your passion can be the best way to avoid this.
Why don’t more students chose their passion as a major?
It’s very likely that many students choose their majors based either on input from influential adults, such as teachers, parents and guidance counselors, or they opt to major in the hot career du jour. The problem of following the well-intentioned advice of adults is that it may not be consistent with who you are and what you want. But there’s an even bigger problem in pursuing the career du jour – by the time you graduate it may no longer be the hot career.
I’m guessing that the number one reason is that most students simply don’t know what their passion is this early in life. Either they haven’t identified it, or perhaps they haven’t even much thought about it. For such a student, it is perfectly reasonable to choose to major in a career field that will offer the most stable employment at the highest level of pay.
But if you know what your passion is, embrace it and build your university career around it. You are blessed both to have a passion and to know what it is, but in discovering it so early, you’re also in a position to begin making it a reality at a young age. Seize those advantages, and start blending your university experience with your passion now.
It could be the difference between living a life filled with adventure – or one putting in your time until retirement.
Does your major match your passion?