Sell Out

I was chatting with a friend recently when learned I wasn’t the only one to sell out my dreams for a better pay cheque.  This friend also had chosen engineering since it pays very well and it would allow him to finance his other dreams in life.  I felt marginally better about my own decision years ago to sell out and pick a career mainly based on the future pay cheque.

To be honest I’ve wondered more than a few times what could have happened if I had followed my passion and tried a career in writing instead.  Would I be happier?  I’m not sure I would be.  Following your passion as career advise is a bit of dangerous idea since it only really works out if you combine passion with a product or service that there is a sufficiently large market to make a living at it.  For example, you might be passionate about playing video games, but there isn’t that many paid tester positions out there so that might not be a good idea.

While I’m aware there are multiple options to have a writing career, I’m not sure which one I would have ended up doing.  So even if I followed my passion…I don’t even know where that road would have gone.

So perhaps the sell out option where you pick a career more for the income potential can also work.  After all if you combine that with a good saving rate you can be financially independent in a few short years.  Then follow your passion where ever it leads you…you don’t need the money so basket weaving might be a good option.

Right or wrong…that’s the path I’m on now.  So did you sell out or follow your dreams in your career?

6 thoughts on “Sell Out”

  1. I didnt’ know what I was passionate about until I was in my late 30’s. So, I just worked & saved in the public service sector. However, I now know what I love to do. I love cooking for people but not good enough to own a restaurant or a catering business. Instead, I do Homestay! Cook for people living in my home when I feel like it and still get paid for it! I can at age 44 3/4, I can quit my job now if I want and follow my passion of cooking. For now, I do both. 90% income from work goes to saving. The other 10% is for unnecessary splurges. The freedom of choice is what makes me feel retired.

  2. I’ve been saying this for years! I don’t want something I love to become my “job”, where I have to try and make money at it. …Talk about sucking all the fun out of writing and guitar playing. I’d be miserable trying to sell my paintings. No, I think I’d be a proper sellout the other way around–if I tried to use my passion (which has always been 100% honest to myself) to create things which others will like, and then try and market and sell them. Boo!!

    When I first joined a band, in the 80s, it was a punk rock band and we played because we absolutely loved the music. At that time the idea that money could be made of it was totally laughable. Punk? No way! You played it ’cause you craved it. So, luckily the rock star delusion was never even presented to me as viable.

    All that said, who wouldn’t love being given a job as a photographer for National Geographic?

  3. Neither. When I picked my career I just wanted something that wouldn’t require student loans, need four years of school and I thought I wouldn’t hate or totally suck at. I had no idea how to get a good paying job. After college, I didn’t like my job almost immediately and tried to go back to school twice, which never worked out. I ended up lucking out in an area related to what I picked when I was 19. It’s a great fit for my personality; I get treated well, make more money than I ever thought I would and get to use my prior education and experience.
    When I picked my career I didn’t really have a passion either. Sure, I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t see a way to do so that wouldn’t involve poverty.
    Now I do some writing on the side and a few small hobbies. But I still don’t feel I have a passion.
    So, bottom line, I didn’t do either because I didn’t know how.

  4. You took a different path to get to your dream of being a writer but engineering was a tool to get you to this point. It is easier to be creative in air conditioned comfort with a full belly.

    I have a day job that I like a lot and it pays the basics but doesn’t allow much for saving. I had always dreamed of being a writer but it turns out it is a lot more work than I thought.

  5. I worked as a registered nurse my entire career. At one point when I was frustrated one of the older nurses said “You know nursing will finance you to go back to school to do anything you want”. I surveyed every nurse I worked with an they all said “If I did not have to work for money I would stay home with my kids. They were all good, professional, kind hard working nurses but none of them were there for the love of it.
    I ended up sticking with nursing saving aggressively and retiring young. I am very happy to be a housewife. I would not have had that option if I had not had a career that paid well.

    Another piece is, with a 50% divorce rate in Canada we all need to be able to support our kids in case of family break down.

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