The Passion vs. Pay Debate

As much as we’d love it to, university doesn’t last forever. Eventually, students graduate with a shiny new degree that paves the way for a career. However, do graduates choose their careers out of genuine passion, or simply because the salary looks good? Of course, everyone would like a career that pays well and offers satisfaction all at once. But let’s face it; it’s a little difficult to achieve both, but not necessarily impossible.

The first thing to think about when choosing a career is what you really want. Some of the best paid employees include aircraft pilots, medical practitioners, solicitors, and marketing and sales managers. These careers, however, take hard work, plenty of studying and a lot of experience to get into. So, if you’re currently on a similarly demanding career path, try considering whether your day-to-day tasks make you feel passionate or not. If not, you may want to reconsider the direction you’re going in.

Another thing to think about is what is more important to you. Perhaps you would like a less demanding job that offers plenty of spare time but only an average salary- one important aspect in choosing a career is considering how much you as an individual can handle. If we take the salary out of the equation, the decision-making gets a lot easier. In fact, it’s easy to get blind-sighted by a high-income, but in many cases it’s unlikely that a big salary will make a long day of dreary and difficult work pleasurable. Also, be sure to do your research. Just because you heard that a particular career pays well, it doesn’t mean that it’s true. Look online at salary surveys, job searching websites, or even have a chat with someone in that particular field. You can even take a trip to The Careers and Employability Service on Level D of the Portland Building, they’ll definitely be able to give you some great advice.  

If all you can envision for the future is a big house and a shiny car, however, then perhaps a high salary job is the best option for you. Having a luxurious lifestyle can be an ambition in itself, and in this case having a genuine interest in your chosen career isn’t essential. In fact, considering the constant changes in our economic circumstances, will we always be able to choose between passion and salary?

For some graduates, it may be difficult to obtain a career in their desired field. After several months of searching, they may feel compelled to find a job that puts them in a more comfortable financial position. Others, however, may choose the route of self-employment, picking personal fulfilment in spite of a low starting salary.

The good news is that we have years and years to search for our passions. We can also use this time to create a plan of action, hopefully obtaining both fulfilment and a good salary if things go as planned. Remember to take your time when making career decisions and be sure to gain plenty of experience before doing so. Really, there’s simply no rush.




Edited by Georgina Varley