Don’t Follow Passion In Work! (3 Things You Have To Know)

Following your passion is generally bad advice! Especially now with COVID-19 changing so many industries such as photography, arts, music and of course airlines.

Yes pilots and air stewardesses are having a hard time. Just in case you dreamt about being in aviation.

What if there may be NO opportunity in what you are passionate about?

Our economy values some skills more and not others. It has nothing to do with your passion.

Let me give you an example: In Singapore - banking and finance is a big topic.

If you study finance, it is likely that you can find a good career opportunities with a bank. I've seen income from many private clients and I can share that generally finance pays better than many.

On the other hand, football in Singapore is just a very small market. 

It does not matter if you are passionate about football or not. 

Even a profession like engineering seems to be small in Singapore. Australia would certainly have more job opportunities in this aspect.

Hence, is it better to follow the opportunity than follow your passion?

I've a friend who was a very successful Dinner and Dance Emcee. He was really good at it and was considered among the better paid emcees in the markets.

But overnight, the industry evaporated.

Successful people's advice on "Following your passion" is just PART of the full picture

Following passion alone does not mean financial successful or business success!

Steve Jobs and Elon musk are 2 who have legendary success but they had a business edge to make it work

There needs to be a marketing savviness to turn passion into business.

Do you truly feel you have it?

I'll share a personal story.

When I was younger, I was passionate about retail businesses.I read everything I could lay my hands on, I even worked part time for Subway to get a feel of F&B and explore franchise. 

Then I started an ice cream business.

Why? Because on paper ICE cream has one of the best profit margins in F&B business.

It potentially could make me more successful than owning a subway franchise.

But in the end my business failed. It was not because of lack of passion.

It was more because I was making rookie mistakes in branding, in product quality, in retail space optimisation... What I'm emphasising is passion cannot become business with business savviness.

What you need to do instead of finding what you are passionate?

Before I dive into the 3 key points, I'd start by sharing with you that 

If you follow passion alone, you are likely to do what is comfortable.

That's NOT how anyone attains success. 

There's this research by Stamford here that says that following your passion makes you less successful! - That's because it paints this picture of an unrealistic easy path to success. 

First thing to note: Be ready for the work!

Mark Cuban says it well here:

You know legendary basketball player KOBE bryant. He sure had passion for basketball early. His dad was a played professionally.

Following passion does not mean a successful life.

On the court, kobe bryant is known to be among the most hardworking on the court and in the gym of elite basketballs.

What about you? Are you someone who tried multiple things but didn't really put years of effort at it?

You know these days, many attend investment courses in stocks and property.

At first things start out fun, there can be some early results. That looks like passion for investing.

But in the long run of things, few actually become masters at investing to see the real payoff because it is hard to keep working at it for years.

That's where REAL MASTERY has the big success and big payoff!

Second thing to note: Listen to what others say you are good at!

Quick personal story. I studied accountancy and it wasn't long before I quickly realised I was NOT great at it.

I had average grades for my accounting models BUT I got an A+ for the communications module.

Now, was this actually my teachers telling that Im in fact better than my cohort in this aspect?

To get A+, to them, I had to be MUCH better than my cohort at this aspect!

What about you?

Have you listened to what you are really good at? Have you reflected on your grades?

There are so many degree holders out there NOW competing for job opportunities. If you want to be successful, do something you are great at more than something you are passionate about

Third thing to note: Happiness on the job has little to do with the job itself

Job happiness isn't about passion and neither is it money.

According to this article by Quartz here, the key to happiness at work is Autonomy. 

How much control you have over your work? In simple terms, people with choices are likely happier.

If you are unhappy at work and you are thinking finding a job that you are passionate at, think about this.

Are you unhappy because you don't have a say in your own goals or the projects you work on?

Are you unhappy because you can't control who you work with and when you work?


If you are able to provide for yourself and your family, you have earned the right to follow your passion.

And if you are looking for business ideas, find something you are good at, you are passionate about and has market value. Check this video on my 

TOP 5 small business ideas for 2020!

Josh Tan Jian Liang (CHFC) Principal Author

REVIEWS: https://theastuteparent.com/josh-tan Practising financial planner with Promiseland Independent Pte Ltd. TJL100057681 EXPERIENCE: More than 14years. Josh Tan is a young parent, speaker, author and founder of TheAstuteParent.

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