We’ve all heard the saying “if you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life”, however, this isn’t always true. Sometimes, the worse thing you can do is try and turn your passion into your job. If you’re not sure why ‘follow your passion’ could be the worst advice to take, here are five reasons why turning a hobby you love into a career could backfire.

Why Follow Your Passion May Be Bad Advice (for you)

1. Adding duty and money to a hobby could suck all the fun out of it.

The joy of a hobby is that it serves as an escape, there’s rarely any real pressure associated with it and you do it because you want to, not because you have to. There’s no quicker way to destroy this unique appeal of a hobby than introducing the pressure of making money to live on from it.

Once paying your bills depends on you doing your passion when and how you don’t want to, fun and escape are exchanged for obligation, and there’s nothing particularly enjoyable about that.

2. Passion is just one part of the career equation

A fulfilling career is made up of many things–  passion is just one factor. When careers-focused charity 80,000 hours investigated the key factors required for job satisfaction, they found that most people need five things:

  1. To do engaging work (that’s where passion comes in)
  2. To do work that helps others
  3. To be good at their work
  4. To work with people you like
  5. To have your basic needs met (good pay and work/life balance)

Being passionate about the work you do is unlikely to lead to a long and happy career if the four other factors are missing.

3. If you’re terrible at your passion or hobby, you could struggle to make money

We can’t be great at everything, and the best thing about a hobby is that you don’t need to be good at it, you just need to enjoy it. However, since a job involves getting paid to provide a service for someone else (that they can’t do themselves – either due to time or ability), some level of competency is expected to justify your salary.

While a hobby allows you the time to get better at your passion, the monetary demands of a job mean that unless you’re happy to do the job for free while you get better at it (in which case it’s actually still a hobby, not a job), you need to be good enough for someone to be convinced to part with their money.

4. It puts pressure on you to find and follow a passion when you may not have one

Despite popular opinion, here at The Ambition Plan, we believe that not everyone has a passion – that is an interest or activity that you are strongly, emotionally and inexplicably drawn to, which brings you great pleasure and satisfaction.

Believing that finding your passion and doing it for a living is the only way to find fulfilling work can create unrealistic expectations that your work must be blissful and if it’s not, there is something wrong with you and your career.

This will inevitably lead to a lifetime of ‘grass is greener’ syndrome, preventing you from enjoying a career that is both satisfying and a good fit for you, because you’re looking for something that doesn’t exist.

5. Passions and interests change with time

As humans, our personalities continuously change with time. From the type of music we listen to and how we style our hair, to the foods we like to eat and the people we choose to spend time with, they all tend to change as the years pass.

In a similar light, so do the things that pique our interests. The danger of building a career based solely on a passion, which may be fleeting, is that if/when your interest in it passes, you may find yourself seriously unhappy because you neglected to factor in all the things that are needed for job satisfaction (see point number 2).

How important do you think it is to follow your passion for a living? Let us know in the comments below.

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