Here’s a fairly depressing post I found on College Confidential – a forum about college matters:
My parents talked to me today. They were very vague. They didn’t help. They only confused me more.
They said successful people do not do what they like.
Like all the foreign nurses who do not really like nursing, but they are successful and enjoy their success.
Note their definition of successful is money for themselves and families.
Is this true? I told my dad that millionaires do what they like and he said its a lie.
I’m angry, sad, and confused, as usual.
They are not going to approve of my studying abroad or joining advertising club. *sigh*
How do you choose what to study? Do you go for what interests you or for something that guarantees you a job? Or do you just let someone else choose for you?
It turns out that the best way to choose is to pick a study that lights your fire.
A recent study asked 1000 college graduates in Denmark how they had chosen their studies and arrived at two very interesting findings.
1: Study what you like and you’ll get a job you’ll like
It turns out that the people who chose studies they were interested in were much more likely to be happy with the jobs they then got. This is not surprising at all – study something that interests you and you’re more likely to end up working with something you like.
2: Study what you like and you’ll make more money!
But interestingly, people who chose their studies based on interest were also more likely to be happy with their salaries than the people who had chosen their studies based on how much money they could make.
And when you think of it, this is not surprising at all. If you study something that makes you happy you will:
- Be more productive – because people who like what they do get more done
- Be more motivated and energetic – because happy people have more energy
- Learn faster – because happy people do just that
- Study better with others – because happy people communicate and team-work more efficiently
You will probably even have a better time socially while you study because happy people are more fun to be around than miserable bastards :o)
All of this means you will get better grades and have a better chance of actually getting your degree. Which again elevates your chances of landing a job in your particular field AND of being successful in that job.
Makes sense, no?
I’ve also gotta say that to me, choosing your studies based on potential later earnings seems… hollow. Do you honestly want to spend your work life just chasing money instead of doing what makes you happy?
Choosing based on money is also very far from a sure bet. Lots of people have chosen a field that’s hot and in demand in the business world when they begin their studies – only to find that things have changed once they graduate 4 or 5 years later. The world often changes too quickly for such a strategy to work.
Btw: The initial post on College Confidential is a little sad in the way the poster’s parents emphasize the old “work is hard, it’s supposed to be, nobody ever got anywhere by being happy” attitude. But check out the replies:
“Balance what you like to do with what you need to get from it, but you don’t need to find a career that inspires a passion within you in order to do it well.”
“I always say follow your passion, rather than the money”
“You have only one life to live. Why should you devote it to work that you don’t like?”
“A wise man once said do what you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
“There are plenty of people who found what they love, who make a living out of it, and who therefore love what they do.”
I could not agree more and it just proves that more and more people are choosing happiness at work!
And if you choose the studies that will make you happy, not only will you be happier at work, you will also make more money.