Driven by passion or a big paycheck?

Monday October 7 2019

Many students after graduation face a dilemma

Many students after graduation face a dilemma about career choices. Sometimes they want to follow their passion but the money question overrides their decision. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA 

By Desire Mbabaali

Qualifications, experience, passion and definitely, the paycheck is always on the invisible list at the back of our minds during a job search. However, when we zero down to passion vis-à-vis the paycheck – which actually pays the bills, it remains a matter of contention.
Robert a graduate of both Education from Makerere University and a Master’s in Education - from University of Concordia, is faced with the same dilemma of choosing between what he loves doing, the satisfaction he derives from it, and a well-paying job.
After months of looking for a job and a series of job interviews, he is currently at crossroads which he defines as being both exciting and frustrating.
“I first got a call from an organisation where I had sat interviews a few weeks back. I am excited about this job because it is in line with editing books for a publishing house which I am passionate about and see myself doing years from now,” Muyanja says.
Shortly after that, he was accepted on a job as a director of studies for a top school – with better pay.
“People are excited about it of course, but, to be honest, I’m not that happy about this position. Because I was picked, I am going to choose this job for financial reasons –just to somewhat increase my finances faster. Last year I focused on producing my book and neglected my professional life, and my finances suffered as a result,” he says adding, “I will take it. But if it turns out that I am unhappy there, I will resign in half a year and start something in line with my passions.”

Passion is key
Similarly, Hussein Mugarura, a business administrator, says one needs a job that they are passionate about, even if it does not pay that highly.
His rationale for this is that he would rather do something he is good at and expect good quality work. “Excellent performance and good results come as a result of one’s drive to pursue excellence. This comes out of one’s passion,” he notes.
He also says if he worked at a job he was not passionate about, it could lead to limited self-drive and he could end up being fired.

The money question
On the contrary, Juliet Nansubuga shares that she would definitely settle for a high paying job. “I work to earn money; that is the point. So, I can choose to tolerate a job I may not be necessarily passionate about as I prepare for my passion. The only way I can choose a job I am passionate about is if I am not desperate for the money,” she adds.
According to an article in the New York Times –The job market, “It is not so much that money buys you happiness but that lack of money buys you misery,” Daniel Kahneman, a professor emeritus of psychology at Princeton, says.
“Achieving the right balance between big money and job satisfaction depends on one’s values, priorities, family obligations and spending habits…” the article reads in part.
In addition, Catherine Amia, a career counsellor at Kawempe Youth Centre, says it never occurs to a number of people to ask themselves about how passionate they are about doing a particular job, pursuing a particular career path or even studying a particular course.
“That is because some people have been socialised not to think and do what they love doing. However, whereas passion is a major motivator for good results in the workplace, money is another motivator you cannot fail to pay attention to,” Amia says.
She says whereas one may be passionate about their job, without good financial benefits, that passion can be gradually eroded. She concludes that: “A good measure of the two is always important in striking the balance. However, it is often dangerous for one’s career and job if it is only about money.”
Turn passion into career
Own this concept. A bad attitude can be your worst enemy. You need to be your own biggest cheerleader, fire up your ambition to succeed and listen to your gut.
Tap into your passion. It’s there, whether you recognise it or not. We’re all passionate about something – even if it doesn’t strike us as job- or career-worthy.
Options. You have more options than you can even dream of. In fact, you could spend your whole life researching them and still not uncover everything that’s possible.
Influences. Start to shake up your routine, influences, and contacts locally to expose yourself to new influences immediately. If a more drastic life change is in order, think of it like adapting to a different country or culture.