Doing What You Love vs. Making More Money – Hmmm?

In the last three weeks, I’ve had the same basic conversation with three different people.  It must be a sign of the times. All three were debating whether or not they should change courses in their careers and move onto something else that wasn’t as interesting but paid more money. In all three of these cases, these individuals had years of experience in their fields and a high degree of talent that complemented their personalities.

As a perpetual optimist, I told them that they should stick to what they were doing. If they did, they would ultimately find greater success and happiness and not have to sacrifice their uniqueness in the process.

Now, I’m hardly a career planning guru or life coach, but I do have a little bit of experience in this department. Before I started Sourdough PR, my husband and I launched an importing business that specialized in boutique wines from New Zealand. I loved exploring the country in search of something new to bring back to the US. If I could have just done that, I would have been a happy camper. However, the bulk of my work included filling out paperwork for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), boxing up wine to get reviewed at magazines, and selling to retailers. I hated it, and I wasn’t particularly good at it either. Needless to say, I wasn’t all that disappointed when we eventually sold our stake in the business. Heck, I can always go to New Zealand on vacation and drink wine.

Without a business to call my own and after some soul searching, I realized what I wanted to do. It was the same darn thing that I’ve always done. I love writing, marketing communications, and PR. Once I returned to my “sweet spot”, I didn’t mind selling my services. In fact, I’m a shameless promoter of what I do. I couldn’t sell a bottle of wine if my life depended on it, but I can sell a business on my PR and copywriting services. It comes naturally, and because of this, I’m able to find some degree of success.

Maybe I could make more money as a commissioned salesperson for some random company. But, the success would be short-lived because I wouldn’t be happy, and it wouldn’t be a good use of my particular strengths. At this stage of the game, I think I’m going to stick with what I do best because it’s enjoyable and I don’t have to struggle to stay motivated.

From what I’ve seen, the happiest people are truly those who are doing what they love and not those who are just in it for the money. Ok, that sounds quite cliché, but I think there’s a lot of truth to it. I think we naturally gravitate to what we enjoy and what we do best. And, if there’s money to be made doing it, even if it’s not the highest paying career choice, it will still ultimately be the best option.

So, I raise a glass of New Zealand wine to toast my friends who are focusing on career transition. Keep in mind that I’m just drinking the wine and not selling it!


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4 responses to “Doing What You Love vs. Making More Money – Hmmm?

  1. Great post, Julie. Hopefully you’re not thinking of switching careers. We’ve got a lot going on. 🙂 Including purses. Have a fabulous weekend.

  2. Drew

    Very good post Julie, it helps me a lot. I’ve been struggling with trying to figure out my career path lately. I’m 25 and work for the largest commercial airplane manufacturer in the US (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about), making a decent amount of money and if I stick with it, in a few years will make a lot, a whole lot. But, I also don’t like it…almost hate it. I miss what I was doing before which was youth counseling. It doesn’t pay much (actually is one of the lowest paying college degree jobs), but I loved it and I made enough live decently. I’m planning on going back into the field as well as getting a higher degree in it. Sorry for the long reply but thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Drew: You were the inspiration for my latest post. I hadn’t written one in a few weeks, so you jumpstarted my interest in writing for the blog. My husband used to work for the very company you mentioned. He started right out of college and lasted a number of years before he had to make a break. He then left to go to grad school and traveled before returning to the corporate world. Her certainly understands your predicament and so do I. From the post, you probably gathered that I truly believe that you won’t be as successful as you can be until you’re doing what you love to do. It’s not all about money. It’s about maximizing your unique set of skills and interests. Good luck with your ventures, and take advantage of this time while you’re young!

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