When Doing What You Love Backfires

doing what you love

“Do what you love and the money will follow,” is perhaps the most popular piece of career advice. You can find Maya Angelou on Pinterest saying, “Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Or Oprah Winfrey: “If you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come.”

The problem is, no one tells you exactly how much money actually will follow. Will doing what you love earn you enough to cover rent, health insurance and retirement contributions? Or will you have to work two other jobs to scrape by?

No one wants to be a dream crusher, but economic realities have a way of putting aspirations into perspective — even those that don’t seem far-fetched.

Take me, for example: I’ve been pursuing my dream of a career in journalism since my days on the high school yearbook staff, and now I’m a professional writer and editor. I love what I do, but I hate the uncertainty of the industry. Since 2009, I’ve lost my job five times through three magazine folds and two rounds of mass corporate layoffs. I’m an optimistic person, but when I’m entrenched in yet another seemingly endless job search, it’s hard not to wonder if I pursued the right career path.

Emily Westerman, career coach and founder of Whole Life Fit Coaching, doesn’t want to stomp on your dreams either, but she has a caveat: “Anything is possible, but you don’t know if they will be possible in your circumstances.” So, whether you want to open up a bakery or become an investment broker, follow these steps before you make a drastic career change.

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