Don’t Follow Your Passion

“Follow your passion”: a tidbit of advice I received from my parents once…

I think this advice is a little bogus (sorry Mom and Dad), or maybe I’m just doing it wrong.

In high school I was passionate about art, photography, design, color and art history, so I chose to major in Graphic Design. The decision to become a designer ultimately led me to choose Auburn (which claims one of the best programs in the Southeast) and straight into classes that I loved to hate. They were bittersweet. I enjoyed the work, but I hated being graded on something I loved so much. Getting a B- when I thought I had done A+ work was like taking a dagger through the heart…I was way too passionate. Every semester I swore I’d change to Marketing. And every semester, I stayed in design. Somehow I made it through two cuts, cried my entire way through the classes, and in May 2010, I graduated with a degree. Only I wasn’t super excited…I didn’t want to be a designer. I was stuck. Talk about confusing: I loved design, but  had figured out a bit too late that I didn’t want to design for money. Fortunately for me, I was slightly interested in exhibit design, and was lucky enough to get an internship with my sorority working in our museum for the summer. Which turned into a full-time job working in our Membership Services Department. I loved the job. I wasn’t passionate about it, but I enjoyed it. It was easy to put effort into what I was doing. After a year, I was offered a job as the Social Media and Communications Specialist, again something I wasn’t passionate about, but I really enjoyed doing, and something I continue to put a lot of effort into. And it’s funny…it seems that all of my effort and hard work has slowly turned in to passion.

I don’t know that I could have explained this or understood  before reading this blog post. But now I do. When I graduated college, I hated art. I hated photography, I was bored out of my mind by design. My camera stayed in its case for a year before I finally got it out again. I turned my passion into a job instead of a job into a passion.

For you, the passion route might work…who knows? Just be aware that it’s easy to burn out, and sometimes focusing on something you enjoy will work even better!