You are not your passion

I hate the word “passion.” Clarification: I hate when people misuse the word. The majority of the population uses the word as a synonym for career, interest and even in conjunction with what major they study in college. This is an erroneous mistake which unfortunately places undue pressure on emerging adults who have not yet decided how they will take their path through higher education to their career.

When people use the word passion when talking about their job and say things to the effect of, “Ahh yes I love every aspect of my job,” and “It never sucks… ever,” they place undue pressure on those who have not yet had sufficient life experience to inform how to approach choosing their own career.

People become discouraged when they do not find a job that aligns with the Americanized proverb that is, “When you are passionate about your job, you never have to work a day in your life”. Well, here is a newsflash: any job that you choose will involve hard work. A job is work. That might not be what you want to hear, but it is the truth. Jobs are not always easy, and society perpetuating the idea that every day in the workforce is a piece of cake is a disservice to those who feel as though they have not found their “passion.”

This attitude also helps to craft the illusion that once you pick a major, a job or a lifelong career, you are locked-in for life. Something that most do not recognize is that if you are unhappy in any decision that you make, you can leave. Let me say that again: you are allowed to change your mind, you just have to allow yourself to.

Your passion does not even have to be concretely integrated in your job. Your passion could be a hobby which is supported by your income from your job. A common misconception is that your passion has to be a concrete thing like what one would find in a “most fulfilling career” rather than more abstract and nuanced elements found in life experience.

I am not writing this as an attack on people who do love their job and am in no way bashing that. It is just an important reminder for young people to take some of that pressure off of their shoulders. Making your way in the world is more complex than it ever appears to be, and it might take a while for you to find exactly where you fit.

Obviously, you have to be able to tolerate your job, but even the people who are absolutely in love with their jobs have rough days. And the expectation to have everything planned out from the beginning, and then stick to it, is just an illusion painted by what you see of people’s lives around you.

So if you are currently paralyzed in fear of picking a major or simply just are not vibing with yours, don’t fret because you are allowed to change it. You have to allow yourself to look at choosing a career with an analytical mind in addition to your heart, because ultimately your job is just your source of income, and people who say that it has to be your primary source of happiness are lying.