Practicality vs. Passion

Remember that your passions are sometimes more important than anything else. Let’s hear this millennial’s tale of how practicality beat out passion in his career.

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As someone who is overly analytical — sometimes to a fault — the choice to abandon a job I actually felt rewarded doing for one that left me feeling trapped and miserable is one I wish every day I could take back.

The backstory…

I began interning at a nonprofit in the South Bronx when I was a senior in college. It was called Bronx Community Solutions, a startup whose purpose was to work hand-in-hand with the court system while crafting alternative to incarceration recommendations that got to the root cause of misdemeanor criminal behavior and ended the cycle of many who were in and out of jail.

While it was a job where you could burn out quickly, the benefits were tremendous, the work actually meant something, and the ability to make a difference was there.

The issue — as is the case with most non-profits (especially for younger workers who aren’t at the management level) was the salary. Beyond that, I was promised promotions a few times without them coming through.

Instead of sticking it out, I decided to abandon something that mattered a great deal to me — having a job that made a difference for others. It wasn’t just a job, it had meaning.

I left Bronx Community Solutions for a job in credit analysis — a job where the ability to make a ton of money was there, but everything else was missing.

Gone was the camaraderie I felt at my previous job, gone was the ability to build something, gone was the potential to make a difference and gone was my sense of purpose.

I stuck it out at the credit analysis job for about a year. And as is often the case in the private sector, I was then laid off due to “lack of work” — leading to a long chunk of time where I was unemployed.

After years of working multiple jobs in order to pay the bills, often working 60 or so hours a week, I finally landed a job I had always wanted — as an Editorial Producer.

But there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t regret the decision I made.

My advice? If you have an analytical mind, you’re not alone. But…remember to stay true to yourself, even when your overly analytical nature threatens to get the best of you. It’s a lesson that can be applied even beyond your work life.

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