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Is ‘Follow your Passion’ Bad Advice?

What if your passion doesn't make you a decent living?

by
Helen Smith

Bio

August 12, 2012 - 11:02 am

Barbara Oakley, author of Pathological Altruism, has a blog post up at Psychology Today entitled “Engineering—The Smart Career Choice for People Who Love Psychology”:

Follow your passion. That’s become the mantra of today’s society. It’s also a potential pitfall.

The issue is that people often have similar underlying passions. This means they flock to the same careers. And this means lots of competition—often for very low level jobs centered on our most elementary passions. ….

So if you’re smart, you love people, and you want to study psychology, do yourself a favor. Avoid well-meaning advice from humanities and social science professors to “follow your passion.” Instead, run the other way and develop new passions.

Oakley suggests that psychology majors think about engineering. It certainly makes sense in today’s job market where degrees like psychology or sociology at the undergraduate level are often worthless.

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Cross-posted at Dr. Helen’s blog.

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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