Chase Your Dream, Not a Job

By Fiona Yuan (II) and Brandon Flores (IV)

Children are often told to “follow their dreams.” For impressionable youth, this phrase once represented an excitement to venture into the infinite expanse of career possibilities. For middle- and high-school students, however, the realism of job prospects and the fear of uncertainty may seem all-encompassing. Although income must be a primary factor taken into account when looking into career options, students should prioritize passions in order to achieve personal fulfillment and success.

 The job market is constantly changing, and jobs that are inconceivable today might become a legitimate way of maintaining a sustainable lifestyle in the future. Ultimately, the job market is influenced by the demands and interests of the people, so the economy is naturally dependent on people’s passions. Innovation opens new job opportunities all the time, as seen in the airplane and subsequent air travel industry and the thousands of people who work at airports. As another example, the idea that people could make a living by recording themselves and sharing their lives via the internet may have been mocked 15 or so years ago. Now, content creation has emerged as a new, viable career path. 

Over time, goals change. Boston Latin School World History teacher, Mr. Nicholas Fogel, advises, “You can’t script your life.” Planning out everything meticulously might seem like the right thing to do, but it does not always work out, especially in the realm of jobs. Young people often confine themselves to specific pathways, wrongly assuming that if they go down one path and it does not go as planned, it will be too late to do anything about it. This is not always the case, however, as it is possible to enter a different path at later points in life — many people successfully switch majors in college and even obtain graduate degrees that do not pertain to their initial interests.

 Having traveled across the country meeting people of different lifestyles, professions and experiences, Mr. Fogel comments, “The people who I was talking to, who I was most inspired by, were folks who followed an interest and didn’t necessarily know where that was going to take them, but they knew themselves very well.” In the real world, people’s careers are constantly changing; remaining in the same situation for the course of an entire career assumes idealistic conditions where nothing changes, but the reality is otherwise.

People who explore their passions and have the right mindset for success are able to find happiness even without an ideal income. Luz Marquez (I) adds, “I hope to learn from people like that because I feel like they have this peace where they’re not always in this state of mind where it’s like, ‘I have to do more, I could have done this.’ Because when you start thinking like that, you start regretting.”

In essence, overambition to achieve a lofty bank account can be damaging. It causes people to look down on themselves and their prior achievements. This is especially true for those who lacked resources growing up, since they feel obligated to secure access to those necessities.

Humans have a natural tendency to be ambitious, constantly seeking the next best thing. This principle applies to individuals throughout their lives, who are always working to do better, to have more and to provide more for other people. Choosing passion over monetary gain allows people to be genuinely satisfied with where they are and live more in the present.