on my career

The line between hobby, occupation and passion is becoming uncomfortably important for me. Yet the more I think on it, the less it gets defined. I think of myself as a pragmatic person. So when someone asks “What would you do if money were no object?” it seems like a forgone idea.

When I think back, one turning point in my outlook on the future came in my high school focus program. Reality set in when we were asked to sort ourselves into our desired professions. I ended up with the nerdy, timid graphic designers while the smarter, louder group of desiring architects sat across the room. In that moment, the reality of the career choice I was making set in. I had considered the struggle of being a graphic designer and the twisted path it would bring to my life, but this pushed me over the edge.

I realize this seems dramatic. And the associations I am making with an entire profession based on this are ridiculous. But, even reflecting back on this moment, I don’t think I could’ve changed my mind.

So I grasped on the whatever was closest. That turned out to be architecture. Why did I do this? Personally, I explain it to myself as a “need to be challenged”. Although my logic surrounding that is definitely sketchy.

More seriously though, my concern is that my “fire” will burn out. That I’ll become lazy or unmotivated. That everything will become less important and blasé to me.

When that moment comes, where will I be? Working a well paying engineering job? or struggling as a graphic designer where the only thing keeping food in the table is my passion. In my view that risk is large, compounded by the fact that I have a very comfortable safety net of two wealthy doctors that wouldn’t let me starve.

It all comes down to perspective. Whether I consciously realize it or not, I am constantly comparing myself to my KCVI peers. The ones that I know. And every single one is either in medicine, commerce or engineering. I compare myself to them and realize that theirs is a more pragmatic, safe approach to a career. I read about unemployment and undergrads waiting table. I read about people not having enough money to retire. I read about graphic designers doing multiple hours of work for next to nothing. Is following my “passion” really worth that risk? So far, I would say no.