Follow Your Passion and Pay the Bills

Greetings AU!

My name is Marc St.Hilaire and I’m the newest member of the AU Career Center. I’ll be working with graduate students within SIS alongside John Charles, so I’m looking forward to meeting with you all either one on one or during drop-in hours at the SIS atrium.

On my first day at AU which was exactly two weeks ago my new boss said these fine words about careers: “Follow your passion and pay the bills”. At some point we’ve all been told to “do what you love,” but for some that doesn’t always mean a salary. Very often what we enjoy doing can sometimes feel mutually exclusive to what “pays the bills.”

So how does one combine their passion with that inevitable need to make an income? The answer: It’s all about the small steps.

If making a leap to your true passion is not a financial option at the moment, take small steps that’ll eventually lead you there.  A key element to doing this is setting aside time to develop your passion. Even if it’s as little as 15 minutes a day, make this time your own to do one or all of the following:

  • Start learning and developing relevant skills through independent study and/or coursework
  • Build relationships with people who work in your industry of interest through social media ( i.e. LinkedIn) and other networking
  • Intern, volunteer and/or job shadow in an organization(s) of interest
  • Work on side projects and other freelance activities

Whether you’re being paid to do something you love or taking steps to eventually get there, keep at it because these activities will enable you to work at your peak. In a recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Choosing Between Making Money and Doing What You Love,” the authors – Leonard A. Schlesinger, Charles F. Kiefer and Paul B. Brown – state ” You simply want to be doing something that you love, or something that is logically going to lead to something you love, in order to do your best work. That desire will make you more creative and more resourceful, help you get further faster, and help you persist”.

So get out there and follow your passion, the bills will get paid sooner or later.