Ah, the age-old career dilemma: money or happiness. Often the two seem mutually exclusive. You either choose the dull job with the steady paycheck or the life of excitement with poverty always lurking around the corner. Yet, it is possible to combine job security with your passion. The right kind of passion can even create job security. Choosing the best balance for you means knowing your own tolerance of risk and unpredictability.
For most people, job security means being employed at a large, stable company in a comfortable, unexciting role. Think accountant or line manager. Alternatively, working in professions such as law or medicine brings with it a degree of stability. What you gain from genuine job security is the knowledge that you can meet your bills each month. You won't be worrying about making the mortgage payment. You may, however, worry about whether you're wasting your life.
The danger when thinking "passion" is believing that every single day should be a thrilling, heart-stopping adventure. Even jobs with passion have paperwork. The key is choosing something that suits you, and that you care about — that's where the passion originates. With that, you might work harder and longer than you would at a poorly suited job. Taking time to match your abilities and interests to the right role can help you pursue a career where you hop into work every morning feeling excited.
Passion vs. Security
The irony is that for some people, lacking passion in your role can lower your job security. For example, if you start doing the bare minimum at work, lacking any enthusiasm or initiative, your bosses will notice. And they're unlikely to have anything positive to say about your attitude. In uncertain economic times, no job is 100 percent secure. If you're not enjoying what you do, it could come back to haunt you.
Security and passion can be combined if you work in a role that makes you feel empowered and in control of your own destiny, as a 2009 article in The New York Times explores. If a stable job also offers opportunities for promotion and to see the fruits of your labor, you might feel more passionate and fulfilled. If the job just feels like you're doing something useless that contributes nothing to the world, your passion is likely to drip out of you day by day.
Based near London, U.K., Peter Mitchell has been a journalist and copywriter for over eight years. Credits include stories for "The Guardian" and the BBC. Mitchell is an experienced player and coach for basketball and soccer teams, and has written articles on nutrition, health and fitness. He has a First Class Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) from Bristol University.