Is it important to pursue a career you're passionate about?

In this time of economic crisis, more and more people are facing a grim employment future. Many of us will find ourselves taking up jobs that may be far from our ideal. Today's question asks: is this a problem? As Brett pointed out in the recent article about the "Greatest Generation", we could take a page from out grandparents books and just get on with it. Perhaps there is too much made of finding the perfect career or work/life balance. Thoughts?

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What sounds most practical to me is combining the "Just getting on with it" mentality with the continuing to pursue the ideal career for yourself. Sometimes you have to do jobs that are less than idea. Allowing those jobs to serve as motivation for improvement is a way to make them more palatable.
When listening to the media you hear a lot about hitting the reset button on the economy. I think this will also allow people to hit the reset button on their priorities. I find it is very easy to get caught up in your own little trade offs for more money. If I stay and work another shift I can get more money, if I get this promotion we can afford that new whatever we need. But really at what cost? What is the true cost of the new iphone? 52'' HDTV? or even that promotion?

And about the Greatest Generation, I am getting a little fed up with this label. Yes, they stopped the greatest threat to humanity of that century but they also laid the foundation of all the economic, social and political messes we are in now.

There have been great quotes about work in our history, both pro and con, but I always fall back to two quotes and one song that have always stuck with me....

Mr. Franz I think careers are a 20th century invention and I don't want one.(Into the Wild)

Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off. (Fight Club)

Little boxes(Weeds intro song)
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,1
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
Personally, I would much rather be poor and suffering pursuing my dreams than rich and in a career I abhor. Not only that but you have to think about it from the other side of things. Staying in a job you hate is actually making you a detriment to society. 9 times out of 10 if you're doing something you dislike you're going to do it halfway, or try to find a way to do it without actually doing it, or even try to find ways not to do things at all. In that respect you are filling in a slot in society and not being at 100 percent efficiency in that slot. A slot that someone else that would love and be efficient in could hold.


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