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Follow Your Passion, But Obey Your Work

Photo+by+Ethan+McElvaney.
Photo by Ethan McElvaney.

Photo by Ethan McElvaney.

Photo by Ethan McElvaney.

Ethan McElvaney

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As a student, I want to enter the workforce as a multimedia art director, and that is why I am majoring in Communications with a concentration in Graphic Design. At the same time, I am also majoring in Marketing and English.

While those two areas are not the first fields that come to mind when people think multimedia, job growth in the graphic design industry is a little slow at the moment and many of the jobs I have looked at for my first career require some marketing knowledge.
As much as working towards doing what you love is a solid way to seek a career, it still requires large amounts of work and experience to obtain such a job and refusing to do anything else along the way can do nothing but stump one’s growth.

I have found throughout my life that working towards the careers that I have wanted while also letting the necessities of the moment teach me to be practical, I discovered new passions, relationships, and career opportunities that have played towards my strengths while letting me whittle my weaknesses down to size.

In high school I wanted to be a graphic designer, but then my passion for technology lead me to want to be a game designer.

When I got deeper into the game design program, my passion for graphic and web design was strengthened by my Design and Type classes to the point where I decided to major in Communications with a concentration in Graphic Design instead.

I did not start off as an amazing graphic designer and I did not know much about what an art director was when I started taking design classes in high school. However, the fact that I jumped across various interests only made me stronger in my passion for my chosen career path.

Besides, there are other important factors to a career outside of what you are highly interested in. As the TED Talks-featured site 80,000 Hours says, “if a basketball fan gets a job involving basketball, but works with people he hates, has unfair pay, or find the work meaningless, he’s still going to dislike his job.”

Think about how many other people are chasing the job of your choice because they were told to “follow your passion.” Think of how many of them have skills in only that area and how you can stick out by not only working towards your dream career, but to the many possible jobs you might have along the way.

You need to learn more than what you mainly want to do in order to stand out. Even if we are to look up to celebrities who we think have almost everything they could want since before we were born, many of them did not start off being a huge actor or a technology tycoon. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started their careers by building arcade machines at Atari before they decided to craft computers.

80,000 Hours says that Steve Jobs had a passion for Western history, dance, and zen before he eventually developed a passion for computers while selling them to make money.

According to Creative Bloq, Alan Rickman, the man who played Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, was a graphic designer for decades before he got accepted into the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts in 1972.

None of these people achieved success by going after one goal for the rest of their life, but by following a goal of theirs and letting their personal discoveries and development tell them if they needed to go elsewhere. Many people do not even know what their passion is yet, but that is actually pretty great.

Instead of being stuck in their own image of success and trapping themselves into a constructed idea of how things should be, they have the opportunity to paint themselves with any tints and shades they want until they see something that works.

There might be a chance that the industry you are supposed to be in or the one that you become fascinated with for the rest of your life does not exist yet.

50 years ago, there would have never been a Simulation and Game Design at William Peace University or a Communications degree with a concentration in Graphic Design. If anything, Peace would have never let me in because it was a women’s college until 2011!

Going back to Steve Jobs, he never applied for a job at Apple, he and Steve Wozniak were Apple. The smartphone market was not mainstream until Jobs and his company designed a smartphone that was marketable to the average consumer.

If anything, I think we all start without a firm idea of what we want to do. At the same time, having a passion is a phenomenal development in one’s personal growth.

The key is not to get so focused on one vision of your future that you try nothing else or believe that you have no real purpose, but to realize that your strengths and career decisions can be quite flexible. If these two elements change over time or if you are not where you think you should be, it will not end you. It will raise your strength and endurance.

Nonetheless, don’t hold yourself back by denying yourself the right to live, learn, and find opportunities you would have never found by only obeying the image in your head.

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The student news site of William Peace University
Follow Your Passion, But Obey Your Work